More foreign criminals dodge deportation

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The number of foreign criminals avoiding deportation has risen by nearly a half, according to new figures.

Statistics show 4,030 foreign offenders were considered for deportation in 2012/13 but nearly a third - 1,310 - were not deported. The figure was up by 47 per cent on 890 who avoided removal in the previous year.

The figures, from a freedom of information request, and excluding Scotland, show foreign offenders who were not removed included 15 murderers, five guilty of manslaughter, 15 rapists, 140 convicted of robbery and 20 guilty of sex offences against children.

Before the Coalition Government came into power, 22 per cent of foreign offenders avoided deportation in 2009/10.

No reasons were listed for the failure to deport but it is thought that a large number of cases were brought on human rights grounds, such as possible mistreatment at home, or the right to a family life.

The Home Office said the recently-passed Immigration Act has made it harder for people to prolong their stay in the UK through repeated appeals. And last month the Conservatives said they want to bring forward plans to curtail the role of the European Court of Human Rights in the UK.

A Home Office spokesman said: “Those who come to the UK must abide by our laws. We take all necessary steps to deport people who break our laws and in 2013 we removed over 4,600 foreign national offenders and more than 19,000 since 2010.

“Tough enforcement is the cornerstone of this Government’s immigration policy. We strongly believe that foreign law-breakers should be removed from the UK at the earliest possible opportunity.

“Legal challenges and barriers are the most frequent reasons for removals failing. There will always be a large proportion of failures that the Home Office cannot affect if it is to remain compliant with its legal responsibilities.”

The new Immigration Act makes it harder for individuals to prolong their stay in the UK with spurious appeals, by cutting the number of appeal rights from 17 to four, the spokesman said.