Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The rioters Britain can't kick out: 18 months after mayhem that shocked Britain, just 15 out of 200 convicted foreigners have been deported

Only 15 of the hundreds of foreigners who took part in the riots of 2011 have been deported, the Mail can reveal.

Ministers had promised to get tough after violence and mayhem tore apart English cities, but the vast majority of overseas nationals who joined in the destruction are still here.

A combination of EU law and human rights rules is thought to be blocking efforts to deport them and could lead to large numbers being granted the right to stay.

While officials have managed to kick out 15 of the rioters, another 31 have been told they can remain in the country despite their crimes.

More than 200 foreign criminals were convicted for their part in the riots in which shops were plundered, businesses set ablaze and hundreds of millions of pounds of damage done.

Among the offences they carried out were burglary, robbery, theft, criminal damage and disorder. If the remaining cases follow the same pattern – of one rioter kicked out for every two who remain – it would mean more than 130 ending up staying in Britain.

Many remain behind bars at a cost to tax-payers of tens of thousands of pounds a week – but more than 80 are at large having been released. And three convicted foreign rioters have been ‘lost’ by the UK Border Agency after failing to comply with bail conditions.

Ministers had pledged to take tough action to kick out foreign criminals as quickly as possible after the riots in August 2011 which began in Tottenham, north London and spread across the country into several nights of carnage.

Home Office minister Damian Green said at the time: ‘We strongly believe that foreign national lawbreakers should be removed from the UK at the earliest opportunity.

‘We also have the power to cancel visas of foreign nationals found guilty of criminal activity, and this is something we will be looking to do when these cases arise.’

In the following months, it emerged that non-UK nationals played a central role in the mayhem. Figures from the courts showed one in seven of all convicted rioters was from overseas.

The Ministry of Justice released a list showing 44 nationalities of convicted rioters, including those from Afghanistan, Cuba, Ethiopia and Samoa.

The largest group was Jamaicans, followed by Somali and Polish offenders.  Other rioters came from Colombia, Iraq, the Congo, Vietnam and Zimbabwe.

The true number of foreign nationals may be even higher as 4 per cent of those taken into remand during the riots refused to tell police their nationality.

The UKBA has set up a special unit, known as Operation Lancaster, to track down and remove foreigners involved in ‘serious criminality’.

But figures released after a request under the Freedom of Information Act show their record to date is lamentably poor.

Of the 201 cases passed to UKBA, only 15 have been kicked out. Some 28 have been given permission to stay because they ‘do not meet deportation criteria’.

Three others have been allowed to remain after legal appeals. A total of 63 are still in prison, or in immigration detention awaiting deportation.

The fact that they are still behind bars suggests officials are more confident of eventually removing them.

Another 53 are at large but classed as ‘still being considered for deportation’. There are 31 who have been given temporary admission while their cases are considered.

The three who have absconded have not been named and officials refused to reveal any further details. Five others are still waiting to be sentenced.

EU rules prevent officials even trying to deport any European nationals sentenced to less than two years in prison.

Non-EU nationals do not qualify for automatic deportation unless they were jailed for at least 12 months.

Peter Cuthbertson, director of the think-tank the Centre for Crime Prevention, said: ‘The average rioter in 2011 had already committed 15 offences, so the public have a right to expect them to be punished properly.  They will be appalled by these figures, which show just how important it is to fix our human rights laws.’

Last night, immigration minister Mark Harper said: ‘Many of those convicted of involvement in last summer’s riots are still behind bars – that’s where they belong.

‘We are pursuing deportation in scores of cases and wherever possible, when they have paid their debt to society, we will remove them from the UK.’


Traffickers smuggle  4,000 illegals into Britain for £50 million

A gang that made millions of pounds smuggling immigrants in at a rate of ten a day has been broken up.

Thousands of migrants from Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran paid the people traffickers up to £13,500 each for passage into the UK.

Some 3,800 migrants were smuggled into Britain over 12 months, hidden in lorries on cross-Channel ferries. It is estimated that the gang may have made more than £50million.

Details of the vast profits emerged after the conspiracy was smashed last week by police and immigration officials on both sides of the Channel.

Officials in the UK Border Agency made 20 arrests across the country last Wednesday in one of the biggest ever operations to target people-smuggling gangs.

Two hundred officers raided 35 addresses, including locations in London, Birmingham, Manchester and Coventry.

Forty other raids took place in France and Belgium.

French officials said that they had dealt a ‘body blow’ to illegal immigration by smashing the ‘vast network’.

Officers were deployed on France’s border with Belgium and at migrant camps near Dunkirk to identify the smugglers. Ten individuals were arrested in Belgium, including two suspected ringleaders.

French police said migrants would be put into lorries parked on motorways in Belgium, to board cross-Channel ferries at Calais and Dunkirk. Earlier this month, four children were discovered who were suffering from hypothermia having been stowed away in a refrigerated lorry.

Aged betwewen nine and 16, they were found huddled together in sub-zero temperatures in a trailer full of soft cheese in Dunkirk.

The Slovak vehicle, which was stopped before it boarded a Dover ferry, was heading for Milton Keynes – another seven hours away.

UKBA estimated the fee at £2,000 to £6,000. However, French police said that the price per person as high as 16,000 euros – some £13,500.

The migrants smuggled by the gang were Kurds, an ethnic group found in several states in Asia.

Chris Foster, from UKBA’s criminal and financial investigation team said: ‘We believe we have successfully disrupted a significant organised network.’


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