I missed this - the reason why we've lost large numbers of foreign criminals. It's our old friend "management by target".
"The Home Office instructed immigration officers not to deport foreign convicts because of fears that they would claim asylum, a senior Whitehall insider has alleged. The policy was implemented more than two years ago as part of a wider, undisclosed strategy to reduce asylum claims so that the Home Office could meet Tony Blair’s target of driving down the number of applicants for refugee status.
This undermines claims by Blair and Charles Clarke, the home secretary, that a simple breakdown of communication between immigration and prison service officials was to blame for the fiasco."
So Blair's asylum promises of 2004, apparently so effective, are actually being produced like this. Reading councillor (now an MP) Robert Wilson went out on patrol with Thames Valley Police.
"Wilson, a councillor at the time, was stunned by what he saw that Saturday night. “The vast majority of people being picked up and processed by Thames Valley Police were not in the UK legally,” recalled Wilson. “That surprised and shocked me.”
At the time, police avoided his questions on the numbers of foreign nationals being arrested by saying they did not keep such statistics. Most of the drug-related crime in the area, Wilson was assured privately by officers, was being carried out by foreign gangs. He now claims police officers in any major town in England will have a similar story to tell."
"When he was elected to parliament as a Conservative MP for Reading East last year, Wilson pursued the issue with more vigour and more authority. In the course of investigating the level of foreign criminality in his constituency, the MP drew out comments from senior police officers and immigration officials. Their testimony has convinced him the Home Office is turning a blind eye to foreign criminals for an easier sweep-up of law-abiding individuals and families who have had their applications for asylum rejected."
Hence the Samina Altafs and Sarah Hatas of this world. It's just less hassle to get a mum and two kids on a plane than to sort out criminals.
“The immigration service has been told to pick the low-hanging fruit,” says the MP. “They have turned their back on anybody who could cause the least bit of difficulty.”
It makes a kind of perverted sense, I suppose. For thirty years now law-abiding natives have been left to fend for themselves while the people who make their lives a misery have had state funds, lawyers, social workers and safari holidays chucked at them. It seems only fair, and in keeping with previous policy, that the least offensive, and most law-abiding illegal immigrants should get the 5 a.m. knock on the door, while the real bad boys go untouched.
By now Wilson had made enough waves to generate a flow of information towards him. In a letter to the MP, one senior immigration official, who remains anonymous, confirmed that immigration officers were forbidden from going on police operations or dealing with immigration offenders arrested by the police unless they were failed asylum seekers.
The immigration service officer wrote that his colleagues’ hands were tied by orders to specifically target failed asylum seekers.
“Immigration service personnel are under instruction not to get involved in assisting the police with offenders unless they happen to be failed asylum seekers,” wrote the officer. “This is because these offenders are likely to claim asylum and tip the scales the wrong way. Thus are the figures massaged.”
“Reading is no different from any other town or city in the UK, every economic hub will have the same problems as we do,” said Wilson.
“The only difference is that I have uncovered police and immigration officers who are willing to give me the information that shows it is illegal foreign nationals who are involved in most of the criminality here.
“The police have done me that service because they fear for the public and the lives of their officers.”