Monday, 17 November 2014

The criminals’ friends

Last week, I wrote about how I simply didn’t understand the logic of those MPs – mainly Conservative MPs and the UKIP MP – who are implacably opposed to the European Arrest Warrant, seemingly just because they hate the EU[1].

It is clear that opting out of the European Arrest Warrant would make it much harder to deport foreign criminals. It would also make it more difficult for us to bring British citizens who have committed crimes abroad back to our country to face justice.

When I wrote that, I hadn’t realised quite how incompetent this government is in dealing with foreign criminals. That was until I’d got round to reading the latest National Audit Office (NAO) report [2].

Fewer foreign criminals have been deported each and every year under Cameron and Clegg than was the case in 2010. Last year, there were 375 fewer deportations, a drop of 7% [3]. And, even more worryingly, fewer deportation orders were being served.
In 2010, there were 143 days between a deportation order and the offender leaving the country, but last year it increased to 187 days. Why?

NAO found that more than a third of failed removals were due to poor processing. They included failures to fill in the forms, to get the necessary papers and even to book the plane tickets that were needed. It is extraordinary that the government is trying to take credit for cutting bureaucracy and public expenditure without drawing attention to the shambles it is creating by doing so.

More foreign criminals have disappeared, too. About 190 absconded last year, and there has been a 6% increase since 2010. Most concerning, 58 highly dangerous foreign criminals that have gone missing over the last 4 years. Yet according to the NAO report, there are only 11 staff working on 700 cases, 10 of whom are very junior.

It’s difficult to avoid the conclusion that some of our representatives have no interest in arresting UK criminals who have fled abroad and then bringing them to justice, and little interest in efficiently and effectively deporting foreign criminals who have been convicted here.

Aren’t they the criminals’ friends?

[1]  Tuesday, 11 November 2014

[2] Managing and removing foreign national offenders