The number of foreign criminals released from prison on to the streets has reached a record high of almost 11,000.
Official figures show that at the end of June there were 10,882 foreign national offenders who had been released from jail but not deported.
All are subject to deportation because they were handed prison sentences of at least 12 months.
The ‘staggering’ total was up by nearly 1,500 in a year. It means four foreign criminals a day, on average, were freed to live in the community in the past 12 months.
The latest total has rocketed by 176 per cent since 2012, when the number stood at less than 4,000.
More than 3,000 foreign criminals have been living in the community for more than five years after completing their jail terms, Home Office data showed, while a further 4,000 have been on the streets for between one and five years. The numbers have surged during the pandemic.
Hundreds are thought to have won their freedom after applying for bail under laws which say they can only be kept in immigration detention if there is a ‘realistic prospect of imminent removal’.
Because international flights were grounded in the early stages of the pandemic, and international travel remains problematic, the criminals successfully argued that they should be freed.
Instead of staying locked up until they are thrown out of the country, they are released to be ‘managed in the community’. Many abscond, potentially putting the public in danger.
Reading terror attacker Khairi Saadallah, 26, was released from prison just 16 days before killing three men in a knife rampage
Deportation is also usually blocked by human rights issues, such as the criminals claiming their lives will be at risk in home countries such as Syria.
Last month a Home Office charter flight to Jamaica saw 43 offenders pulled off the plane at the last moment, with some claiming they would be in danger from criminal gangs in their home nation.
Meanwhile, the Home Office is deporting far smaller numbers of foreign nationals who have no right to remain in the UK, including convicted criminals, failed asylum seekers and immigration offenders.
The Daily Mail reported yesterday how in the year to March there were just 2,420 ‘enforced returns’, down from a peak of more than 21,000 in 2004.
David Spencer, of the Centre for Crime Prevention think-tank, said of the latest figures: ‘These numbers are staggering and deeply disconcerting for law-abiding British citizens.
‘We were told that Brexit would make it easier for us to control our borders and remove foreign criminals but these numbers show this clearly isn’t the case yet.
‘It is time for concerted action from the Home Office to ensure that the laws are in place to ensure that the overwhelming majority of foreign criminals are deported from the UK at the end of the sentence.’
The Home Office has recently announced efforts to increase the number of deportations.
In July, Home Secretary Priti Patel announced a new deal to speed up the way Albanian criminals and failed asylum seekers are returned to their home country.
In July, Home Secretary Priti Patel announced a new deal to speed up the way Albanian criminals and failed asylum seekers are returned to their home country
Albanians currently make up the largest group of foreign nationals in jail in England and Wales with more than 1,500 inmates, according to latest figures, with many linked to organised crime.
The landmark deal – finalised by Miss Patel during a visit to Tirana – will make the process of transferring Albanian criminals and immigration offenders ‘easier and quicker’, Home Office sources said at the time.
Each prison place costs around £30,000 a year and the new plan could save the UK taxpayer millions of pounds a year.
The bilateral agreement with Tirana was only made possible by Britain’s Brexit vote.
One in eight prisoners in jail in England and Wales are now non-UK citizens, or 9,850 of the 78,000 behind bars.
FREED TO KILL THREE IN KNIFE PARK HORROR
Reading terror attacker Khairi Saadallah, 26, was released from prison just 16 days before killing three men in a knife rampage.
The Libyan was jailed in October 2019 for breaching a suspended jail term for racially aggravated assault, criminal damage and affray. But after his term was cut from 25 months to 17 months on appeal, he was freed.
Although Saadallah’s deportation was deemed to be in the public interest, his removal could not go ahead for legal reasons. Home Office officials were aware of his background as a child soldier training with Islamist terrorist militia.
Just 16 days after release, he knifed teacher James Furlong, 36, scientist David Wails, 49, and their friend Joseph Ritchie-Bennett, 39, in a Reading park last June.
As he was jailed for life for the murders, Mr Furlong’s distraught father Gary said: ‘He wasn’t safe to be put back on the streets.’
Just 16 days after release, he knifed teacher James Furlong, 36, scientist David Wails, 49, and their friend Joseph Ritchie-Bennett, 39, in a Reading park last June
Source: Daily Mail UK