Home Office figures show 11,561 offenders “subject to deportation action” are still in the community. This number has increased almost three-fold over the last ten years. In 2012, 3,943, criminals were still living in the UK.
Alarmingly, the number of foreign offenders subject to deportation action still living in the UK five years after their sentence has increased from 1,191 in 2013 to 3,589 in June.
This has prompted renewed calls for ministers to get tougher and protect Britain’s lax borders.
Two weeks ago, Home Secretary Priti Patel revealed she has ordered officials to “renew their pursuit of dangerous criminals who devastate lives and communities”.
And the figures seen by the Daily Express reveal the true scale of the problem, with the backlog growing year on year.
This is likely down to countries refusing to take back their criminals.
Priti Patel has been pursuing returns agreements with numerous countries and has already secured deals with Albania and Pakistan – two of the largest foreign national offender populations in Britain.
The number of foreign national offenders living in the community despite being eligible for deportation began to surge in 2017.
By 2018, Britain could not boot out 6,249 foreign criminals. The following year, this surged to 7,015 and 8,497 the following year. By Christmas 2020, this had rocketed over 10,000.
And it has continued to rise since – but the prisons minister yesterday told the Daily Express he is confident the Government will soon get a grip on the issue.
Alp Mehmet, Chairman of Migration Watch UK, said: “Migration Watch UK has long pointed to the scandalous way foreign national offenders are released into the community, simply because the government can’t get them on a flight to wherever they’re from and doesn’t know what else to do with them.
“What is especially worrying is that many of those wandering freely in unsuspecting communities could pose a threat to public safety.
“But it seems that the safety of law-abiding citizens matters less to the government than the rights of foreign offenders.”
The Daily Express understands the security services fear Albanian crime kingpins – who control much of the UK’s cocaine trade – are smuggling new recruits into Britain.
The National Crime Agency and regional organised crime units think Albanian gangs – which control the majority of the UK’s cocaine networks – are increasing their stranglehold by bringing foot soldiers across the Channel.
And this newspaper understands the threat from Albanian organised crime gangs is “also rising up the security service’s list” of priorities.
Former Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage told the Daily Express: “If you think the situation is bad now, wait until the hundreds of Albanians that crossed the Channel in August join the already established gangs here.
“It is a recipe for disaster.”
Separate Home Office figures released several weeks ago show the UK has removed 1,741 foreign national offenders since January 1, 2022.
This includes rapists, paedophiles, killer drivers, people smugglers, kidnappers, robbers and drug dealers.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said at the time: “I have tasked Home Office teams to renew their pursuit of dangerous criminals who devastate lives and communities and leave their victims and families to pick up the pieces. They must be swiftly removed so we can make our streets safer.”
Prisons minister Stuart Andrews, in an exclusive interview with the Daily Express, said: “Over the last couple of years, 11,500 foreign nationals have been deported back to their country.
“We will continue. That is our aim to continue to do that.
“We know through tagging where they are. We recognise that this is an important issue.
“Sometimes the measures that we need to introduce to actually make these things easier takes a bit of time, through various bits of legislation and so on.
“But I am confident that we are on a trajectory now that we’ll be able to sort this out. I know my colleagues in the Home Office are focusing on this acutely.”