Police failures let foreign criminals avoid deportation: Thousands are escaping being kicked out because officers do not check if they should be in the country

  • Failure to check immigration status means crime suspects who have committed serious crimes in their own country avoid being booted out
  • Police requested a check of the central database in just 30 per cent of cases where foreigners were arrested outside London
  • The situation was uncovered by David Bolt, the independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration
  • 193,000 foreign nationals were arrested in 2014-15 in England and Wales 

Tens of thousands of foreign nationals could be escaping deportation because police are failing to check that they are allowed to be in the country when they are arrested. Failure to check immigration status means crime suspects who have committed serious offences in their own countries can avoid being booted out of the UK.  They could include some who have been involved in killings, sex attacks, violence and drug dealing before coming to the UK. Some of the foreign crime suspects fool police into not asking the Home Office to carry out checks by insisting they are British citizens. Police are also less likely to run the names of arrested European Union nationals against a watchlist because they do not realise that – despite controversial Brussels free movement rules – they can be kicked out if they have criminal records.

Police requested an immigration status check of the central database in the cases of only 30 per cent of the foreigners collared outside London. In some parts of the country the figure is as low as 15 per cent.

The worrying situation was uncovered by David Bolt, the independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, in a report commissioned by Theresa May in January when she was still Home Secretary.

He revealed that almost 193,000 foreign nationals – EU and non-EU – were arrested in 2014-15 in England and Wales.

The killer of schoolgirl Alice Gross had been allowed into Britain in 2007 despite serving seven years in jail in Latvia for killing his wife.

Arnis Zalkalns also had convictions for sexual assault and firearms convictions in his home country.

The builder was arrested in 2009 on suspicion of drugging and indecently assaulting a girl in London but was not investigated by the Met or prosecuted.

He went on to murder 14-year-old Alice in August 2014 after pouncing on her in a suspected ‘opportunistic’ sexual assault.

Her decomposing body was found a month later in the River Brent near her home in Hanwell, West London, tied in the foetal position.

Zalkalns was found hanged in a park a mile away, having committed suicide. He had previously been sentenced to 12 years in jail after beating his wife over the head with a scaffold pole, stabbing her in the chest and then burying her in a shallow grave in Riga.

Police are failing to investigate cases of modern slavery which means organised people-smuggling gangs are able to offend with impunity.

In his first annual report, the UK’s independent anti-slavery commissioner said ‘chronic weaknesses’ in crime recording meant victims were being denied justice.

Kevin Hyland said police in England and Wales had received 3,146 allegations in 2015-16 but recorded a ‘disappointing’ 884 crimes. Only 118 charges were brought – although this was a 19 per cent rise on the previous year.

He said there were ‘too many gaps’ for victims to fall through. He warned that the 13,000 men, women and children thought to be victims of human trafficking in the UK were just the ‘tip of the iceberg’.

Most victims are forced to live in servitude while working in car washes, nail bars, farms or factories or as domestic servants for wealthy foreigners.

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