Friday, April 28, 2006

Five of the foreign prisoners mistakenly released by the British Home Office have since been convicted of drugs and violence offences

Telegraph:

The Home Secretary said the five had been convicted of violent disorder, grievous and actual bodily harm, and drug crimes.

His statement came following the admission that 1,023 foreign offenders had been released from prison before they could be considered for deportation.

In a letter to the Speaker of the House of Commons and his opposition counterparts, Mr Clarke said 79 of the original 1,023 had committed serious offences. Deportation action had now commenced for 63 of them.

A "thorough search" of records had taken place, he said, but it had revealed no cases where offenders had been convicted of the most serious offences such as homicide, rape or child sex offences.

Mr Clarke said: "The genuine shortcomings which have been revealed in dealing with foreign national prisoners will be repaired and we will learn the lessons to make whatever further changes are needed to improve the quality of what we do across the whole Home Office.

"As I told the House of Commons earlier this week, I very much regret the shortcomings which I have reported."

The shadow home secretary, David Davis, said none of the crimes would have happened had Mr Clarke and the Government been doing their job of protecting the public properly.

He told Sky News that Mr Clarke's position was "untenable" and predicted there would be "many, many more" new crimes uncovered when the remaining 900 cases were examined.

The Liberal Democrats' home affairs spokesman, Nick Clegg, said: "This is cold comfort to the victims of the five crimes which the Home Office hasn't even deigned to describe in detail."

He added: "No secretary of state should stay in his post when serious offences have been committed by people who could and should have been removed from the country."

Resigned to fate

Blair ally urged to quit over UK prisoner bungle

Freed inmates figure higher than admitted

Our immigration system is in chaos

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