Hor­ror over ‘lost’ for­eign crim­i­nals

Western Daily Press - - National -

RAPISTS and killers are among hun­dreds of for­eign crim­i­nals who have dropped off the Home Of­fice’s radar.

Im­mi­gra­tion au­thor­i­ties also lost track of over­seas na­tion­als con­victed of kid­nap, weapons pos­ses­sion and rob­bery.

They had been liv­ing in the com­mu­nity while fac­ing re­moval from the UK.

Fig­ures ob­tained by the Press As­so­ci­a­tion show 450 for­eign na­tional of­fend­ers (FNOs) ab­sconded in two and a half years to the end of June.

Some were later lo­cated but the where­abouts of more than 200 were un­known up to two years af­ter con­tact with of­fi­cials ceased.

Con­ser­va­tive MP Tim Loughton, a mem­ber of the Com­mons Home Af­fairs Com­mit­tee, de­scribed the find­ings as “hor­ri­fy­ing”.

He said: “Th­ese are very con­cern­ing fig­ures and con­firm a wor­ry­ing trend that we are a soft touch when it comes to deal­ing with for­eign na­tional of­fend­ers.

“It is a mystery to me why we do not im­me­di­ately de­port th­ese crim­i­nals, some of them highly dan­ger­ous, back to their coun­try of ori­gin, and let their au­thor­i­ties deal with them. The fact that th­ese peo­ple are es­cap­ing the watch­ful eye of the Home Of­fice and are back on our streets is hor­ri­fy­ing.

“We need to be pulling out all the stops and boot­ing them out of our coun­try ASAP for hav­ing abused our hos­pi­tal­ity and gen­eros­ity.”

If there is no im­me­di­ate prospect of de­por­ta­tion or re­moval, con­victed for­eign na­tion­als who have com­pleted their sen­tence can be man­aged in the com­mu­nity.

They are re­quired to re­port to of­fi­cials at set times and can be sub­ject to bail con­di­tions and elec­tronic mon­i­tor­ing.

Of­fend­ers are recorded as hav­ing ab­sconded if their where­abouts are un­known and all pro­ce­dures to re-es­tab­lish con­tact have failed.

Fig­ures ob­tained un­der Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion rules show 251 FNOs ab­sconded in 2016, fol­lowed by 164 last year and 35 in the first six months of this year.

As of the end of June, 223 male FNOs had not been found.

Eleven fe­males who ab­sconded in 2016, plus un­spec­i­fied num­bers of five or fewer who ab­sconded in 2017 and Jan­uary to June this year, were yet to be tracked down.

Of­fend­ers con­victed of mur­der, man­slaugh­ter, rape, kid­nap, weapons pos­ses­sion, rob­bery, con­spir­acy to de­fraud, theft, bur­glary and death by dan­ger­ous driv­ing were among those un­ac­counted for.

Eighty-two in­di­vid­u­als with con­vic­tions for drug-re­lated of­fences were also yet to be found.

The Home Of­fice said some of the ab­scon­ders recorded as un­found in June may have been traced since.

Short­com­ings in ar­range­ments for keeping track of for­eign crim­i­nals liv­ing in the com­mu­nity were flagged up in a re­port from the im­mi­gra­tion watch­dog last year.

Tim Loughton MP

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