Nearly 1,800 foreign criminals 'living in UK for more than five years'


Nearly 1,800 foreign criminals eligible for deportation have been living in Britain for more than five years, according to new figures.

Some 5,895 foreign offenders are still living in the community after being released from prison, with many of them living in the UK for many years.

An electronic tag on a person's ankle
The Home Office has said those due to be deported will have to wear electronic tags (BBC)

Of these, 1,792 foreign criminals have still not been deported more than five years after they were released from prison, according to Home Office figures.

The figures, taken from March 2016, were revealed by the Home Office in a response to a Parliamentary Question asked by Labour MP Keith Vaz, chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee.

The numbers come amid concern that foreign criminals have used Human Rights legislation to avoid being kicked out of the country.

A number of offenders with British children have claimed they should not be deported because it would breach their rights to a family life.

Keith Vaz looks into the camera against a red background  (Jonathan Brady/PA)
Keith Vaz raised the issue in Parliament (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Mr Vaz said the figures showed there was something "seriously wrong" with the system and demanded "urgent action".

He said: "These are extraordinary figures. To have failed to deport nearly 1,800 people after five years shows that there is something seriously wrong with the system.

"It can't be right that people who have been convicted of a criminal offence in this country have been allowed to stay for up to half-a-decade with apparently no prospect of removal.

"We need to take urgent action to ensure that when sentences have been completed people are returned to their countries of origin immediately."

The exterior of the Home office Building  (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
The Home Office hit back at Vaz's criticism (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

The Home Office highlighted figures showing 5,692 foreign offenders were removed from the UK in the year 2015-16, the highest number since records began.

A spokesman said: "Any foreign national offender who poses a threat to the UK should be in no doubt of our determination to deport them.

"Those who are released by an Immigration Judge will be subject to stringent bail conditions, which can include tagging, while we continue to pursue their removal.

"We take our duty to protect the public very seriously and the recently introduced Immigration Act will mean that all foreign offenders who are subject to outstanding deportation proceedings will be electronically tagged."