FOREIGN Criminals have been able to commit crimes including murder because police and border officials have failed to keep track of dangerous immigrants, an official report has found.
Police are struggling to arrest foreign criminals because they do not have up-to-date information.
The Home Affairs Select Committee said the Home Office IT system is not fit for purpose, making it harder for officials to keep track of foreign criminals. Some 760 foreign criminals, including killers and rapists, are on the run in Britain, the report warned. Some may have been at large for more than five years, it added.
The committee’s chairman and Labour MP Keith Vaz described the findings as “astonishing” and called for an overhaul of the system to ensure criminals do not slip through the net.
He said: “It is astonishing that even though we have these databases and the capacity to check every single person who is a foreign national and arrested in this country, it is only used in 67 per cent of cases. That means that one third of foreign nationals arrested in the UK do not have their criminal records checked.”
He added there are “many dangerous people” in Britain, but the authorities do not know who is at risk because of “the failure to do even basic and routine checks”.
The report, entitled The Work Of The Immigration Directorates Calais, said the killing of schoolgirl Alice Gross, who was murdered by Latvian Arnis Zalkalns last August, highlighted the danger of border failings.
Described as a “threat to society”, Zalkalns, a 41-year-old labourer, served seven years in jail in Latvia for murdering his wife and burying her in a shallow grave, but moved to the UK in 2007 where he killed again.
The report warned: “The Home Office, the police and Border Force are clearly reliant on access to timely information to enable them to intervene when criminals attempt to enter the UK. The murder of Alice Gross and the violence inflicted on Professor Paul Kohler show that such reliance is inadequate.”
A Home Office spokesman said: “Foreign criminals have no place in the UK. Police criminal records checks on EU nationals have gone up over 700 per cent under this Government, with just over 60,000 requests made to European partners in 2014. We already have an outstanding system of public protection that is rightly held up as an example across the world but we are not complacent.”