Nearly 12,000 foreign criminals are currently being handled by the Home Office, including 775 murderers and 587 rapists – but the true figure of Britain’s foreign criminal population is potentially much higher, as the official figures don’t include convicted criminals who have been granted the right to stay in the UK permanently under human rights laws.
The Home Office has for the first time released figures of all foreign criminals on its books, broken down by nationality and category of crime. They reveal that 11,719 foreign criminals are either in jail, in immigration detention centres or at large. In total, 177 nations are represented on the list, entitled the Foreign National Offender Caseload, the Daily Mail has reported.
When ordered by nationality, Jamaica comes out on top: 1,026 Jamaicans from a total population in Britain of 47,000 Jamaican nationals have been convicted of crimes. Nigerians and Polish are next on the list, accounting for 832 and 679 convicted criminals of those nationalities respectively, but from much larger immigrant populations.
More than one in six of the total have been convicted of serious crimes, including rape, murder, terrorism and paedophilia. More than ten percent of the total are either rapists or murderers. In total, there were 775 murderers plus a further 99 convicted of manslaughter; 587 rapists and 155 child rapists; 228 paedophiles and 15 convicted of terrorism charges.
Amongst the crimes considered less serious were 1,022 convicted of violent assaults, 497 burglary convictions, 43 arson convictions and more than 8,000 crimes listed simply as ‘other’. More than 1,100 are unlikely to be deported as they were handed custodial sentences of less than one year, which is the threshold for deportation for citizens outside the EU. 1,075 were handed indefinite or life terms.
The figures came to light thanks to a question tabled in Parliament by Labour’s shadow immigration minister David Hanson, but both the Labour and Conservative Parties have tried to pin the blame on the caseload on their opponents.
Hanson told the Mail “Foreign criminals have no place in Britain and there is no excuse for ministers not deporting them as early as possible. Yet under this Government fewer are being removed and it’s taking longer; Labour has clear plans for making it easier to deport foreign criminals but Theresa May still won’t get a grip and remove people who shouldn’t be here.”
But Michael Ellis, a Conservative member of the Home Affairs Select Committee accused Labour of hypocrisy for their stance, saying “The hypocrisy from Labour is nauseating. It was the previous Labour government’s ramshackle immigration arrangements that facilitated entry of many of these individuals in the first place. And the Human Rights Act created an imbalance in favour of foreign criminals which we are having to correct.”
Three years ago Theresa May told the Conservative Party conference “We all know the stories about the Human Rights Act. The violent drug dealer who cannot be sent home because his daughter – for whom he pays no maintenance – lives here. The robber who cannot be removed because he has a girlfriend.
“The illegal immigrant who cannot be deported because – and I am not making this up – he had a pet cat. This is why I remain of the view that the Human Rights Act needs to go.”
The Conservatives have pledged to scrap the Human Rights Act for over a decade, and will be including a commitment to doing so in their 2015 general election manifesto.