Foreign criminals escape removal

From: clive.denton

Date: 2006-04-25 15:46:33

After all that Clarke said about the media getting it all wrong we find this out.  How could the government be so stupid? Clive ——————————————-   Foreign criminals escape removal Charles Clarke has apologised for the release of more than 1,000 foreign prisoners who should have been deported at the end of their sentence. The number includes three murderers and nine rapists, Home Office figures show. Mr Clarke said he could not say “hand on heart” that they would all be tracked down, “but we are working on that very energetically”. Minister Tony McNulty said he was “very, very shocked” by the news but he did not think Mr Clarke should resign. Drug importers Mr Clarke said the 1,023 prisoners, who were released between February 1999 and March 2006, should have been considered for deportation or removal. He said the failure was “deeply regrettable” and conceded that people would be angered by the oversight. We simply didn’t make the proper arrangements for identifying and considering removal in line with the growth of numbers that were there Charles Clarke So far the Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) has located 107 of the total, leading to 20 deportations. Among the offenders, five had been convicted of committing sex offences on children, seven had served time for other sex offences, 57 for violent offences and two for manslaughter. There were also 41 burglars, 20 drug importers, 54 convicted of assault and 27 of indecent assault. The Home Office said it did not have full details of offences committed by more than 100 of the criminals. Mr Clarke said: “This is deeply regrettable… It is clear that the increasing numbers of cases being referred for consideration led to the process falling down.” All the government’s tough talk on crime counts for nothing in the face of this incompetence Sir Menzies Campbell Metropolitan Police Deputy Commissioner Paul Stephenson said everything needed to be done to make sure such a situation never happens again. “It’s disappointing,” he told BBC Radio Five Live. “Let’s deal with that threat … and what are we going to do about those people who have unfortunately been released into our communities.” Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell said it was “extraordinary” that so many people convicted of serious offences had “simply disappeared”. “All the government’s tough talk on crime counts for nothing in the face of this incompetence,” he said. The situation only became apparent after the cross-party Commons Public Accounts Committee asked questions about released foreign prisoners during a hearing last October. Responsibility Mr Clarke said he was taking the situation “extremely, extremely seriously in every respect”, but he thought it was “better to acknowledge and admit it and deal with it”. The problem had occurred because the Prison Service was not focused on the nationality of its prisoners while the IND was preoccupied with other matters, said Mr Clarke. The number of prisoners in England and Wales born overseas had increased sharply from 4,300 in 1996 to more than 10,000 at the end of February this year, he said. “We simply didn’t make the proper arrangements for identifying and considering removal in line with the growth of numbers that were there,” he said. “That is a failure of the Home Office and its agencies for which I take responsibility.” The courts had recommended that 160 of the criminals should be deported from Britain at the end of their sentences, it emerged. Lin Homer, the IND’s director general, said 14 of the 160 had been found. Five of those had been deported and nine considered inappropriate for removal. ‘No blame game’ Mr Clarke said he was not going to start pointing the finger at who was to blame for the error. “Both the Prison Service and the IND failed to carry out their responsibilities in the way they ought to have done,” he said. “They have both taken steps to lead me to be confident that it is now being done properly. “It is a failure and it is not acceptable and that’s what we’re putting straight.” Home Office Minister Mr McNulty said he “did not think it was a case of heads will roll but we’ll see”. Mr Clarke said there was no information available on whether any of the prisoners had committed further crimes since their release. Harry Fletcher, assistant general secretary of the National Association of Probation Officers, said the chances of tracking down large numbers of released prisoners was “remote”. The best chance was if they were rearrested for other offences and checks carried out on the Police National Computer. The Home Office was “facing crisis”, said Mr Fletcher. Story from BBC…: 2006/04/25 14:07:54 GMT© BBC MMVI avast! Antivirus: Outbound message clean. Virus Database (VPS): 0617-1, 25/04/2006Tested on: 4/25/2006 15:47:36avast! – copyright (c) 2000-2006 ALWIL Software.

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