Horror over ‘lost’ foreign criminals
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