League tables of migrant nationalities with highest crime rates opposed by civil servants

Robert Jenrick, former immigration minister, is  leading the plan
Robert Jenrick, former immigration minister, is leading the plan - TOLGA AKMEN/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Civil servants are trying to block plans for league tables of the migrant nationalities with the highest rates of crime.

The proposal, backed by 40 Tory MPs as an amendment to the Criminal Justice Bill, would require the crime rates of each nation’s migrants in England and Wales to be published annually.

Ministers would present a report to Parliament each year detailing the nationality, visa status and asylum status of every offender convicted in English and Welsh courts in the previous 12 months.

The move, first revealed by The Telegraph and led by former immigration minister Robert Jenrick, would mirror an approach by some US states and Denmark, where league tables show the crime rates of those from Kuwait, Tunisia, Lebanon and Somalia are far higher than those of Danish nationals.

It is understood that Home Office ministers are in favour of the plan in principle as it would enable Government and law enforcement agencies to assess the scale of criminality in specific migrant populations.

However, civil servants have advised that Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the Commons Speaker, is likely to rule the amendment is not “in scope” for the Bill.

Migrants picked up mid-Channel by Border Force are brought back to Dover, on Wednesday
Migrants picked up mid-Channel by Border Force are brought back to Dover, on Wednesday - STEVE FINN

This means that it would be judged to be out of kilter with the thrust of the legislation which primarily aims to crack down on knife crime, drugs, anti-social behaviour and other crimes.

There are also concerns within Whitehall that it has become a “Christmas Tree” bill, with multiple amendments potentially added to it including on decriminalising abortion and combating county lines gangs.

Ministers are understood to be seeking to get the data published irrespective of whether there is legislation. “It can just be done. You don’t need legislation,” said a source.

“It is actually mainly an operational issue. How do you collect the data and make sure it is reliable?

“There are all those considerations rather than legislative commitment going forward. Ministers like the idea. We want to work out how to do it.”

The plan has been backed by MPs from all wings of the Conservative party from Right-wing former Commons leader Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg to Sir Robert Buckland, the former justice secretary, a One Nation Tory.

Backers of the league table plan believe it will help the Government strengthen immigration policy on three fronts.

First, they said it would allow the Home Office to tighten screening of visas from countries with nationals linked to higher crime rates in the UK.

A similar approach could be taken to asylum applications. They also say it would enable the Home Office to focus deportations and returns agreements on those countries.

“We cannot hope to fix our immigration system without understanding the problem. The national debate on legal and illegal migration is hindered by a lack of data on the fiscal, economic and societal impacts of migration,” said Mr Jenrick.

“There is mounting concern that the UK is importing crime, particularly violent crime, sexual assaults and drug production. We need to have transparency so the public knows what’s happening and policy can be formulated accordingly.”

Denmark has strong immigration policies

The Danish Government’s data on migrant crimes enables researchers to compile league tables showing which nations have the highest conviction rate relative to Danish nationals.

Japanese, US, Australian, Austrian, Argentinian and Indian citizens have the lowest rates at half those of Danes, while more than 40 nations have higher conviction rates for violent crime.

Denmark has some of the toughest immigration policies in Europe and has been seeking to work with other EU countries to deport migrants to a third country outside the bloc where their asylum claims would be processed.