Deport more foreign prisoners – MP


Published: Sunday 12th October 2014 by The News Editor

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Ministers are facing renewed pressure to deport more foreign nationals held in English and Welsh prisons, amid warnings progress has been “painfully slow”.

Conservative backbencher Philip Hollobone insisted he believes far more could be done by Whitehall departments to ensure inmates are returned to their home countries to prevent taxpayers paying out hundreds of millions of pounds extra each year.

Mr Hollobone will lead a debate on the issue in Parliament on Wednesday and says he will press the Government for action.

It follows a demand t o speed up the Government’s “frustratingly poor” record on removing from the UK foreign criminals by the Commons Public Accounts Committee, which acts as a public spending watchdog, in April.

Kettering MP Mr Hollobone said: “The basic problem is there are far too many foreign national offenders in prison in this country and we need to send them to prison in their own countries so costs of incarceration can be borne by their fellow nationals rather than ourselves.

“There are around 10,000 foreign nationals in prison in the UK out of a total prison population of 80,000, costing us something like north of £300 million a year.

“We should have a series of bilateral agreements so those people can be sent back to prison in their own country, and far greater use of EU-wide agreements – that are already in place but have yet to be ratified – to send EU nationals back to their own countries.

“The situation is better than it was but progress has been painfully slow and I feel the Government could do a lot more.

“There are relatively few British nationals held overseas in prison but there are lots of foreign nationals imprisoned in our country. It’s right they have been caught and brought to justice but they should be in prison in their own countries, not in Britain.”

He added: “I am sure far more could be done by the Foreign Office, justice department and the Home Office to get people in to prisons in their own country.

“Not enough is being done and it needs a coordinated approach across the Government to tackle this issue.

“Everyone is in agreement that it’s a serious issue that costs taxpayers a lot of money.”

Murderers and rapists were among 321 UK nationals convicted abroad but returned to English and Welsh prisons to serve the remainder of their sentences, according to figures released in June .

Convicted child sex offenders, fraudsters and a tobacco smuggler were also included in the list of those sent back to Britain from 37 countries around the world between January 2010 and December 2013.

Spain proved to be the destination where the most offenders returned from, with 83 prisoners who were convicted of a range of offences including attempted murder, grievous bodily harm, sexual assault and rape.

The data highlighted that six people given life sentences were sent back – four for murder from Australia, Germany, USA and Ireland, and two for drug offences from Laos and Vietnam.

The Government noted 19,423 foreign national offenders were removed from the UK in the same period – 2010 to 2013 – for the figures outlining how many UK nationals had returned.

Published: Sunday 12th October 2014 by The News Editor

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