Duncan Lewis


Asylum, Detention/ Fast Track

Managed Migration, Public Law

According to prison figures, in less than a decade, the number of European nationals who have been jailed in England and Wales has more than doubled.

Date: (7 June 2012)    |    

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More than 50 European nationals are finding themselves behind the bars every week the figures stated.
These figures are causing alarm in Britain as most of the foreign nationals who were being put behind bars were having a spate of previously committed crimes in their names and they could enter Britain without being caught because free movement laws of European Union nationals meant they could walk in through the borders without being checked.
The criminal history of EU nationals can only be known if they are on the run or their home country alerts the British police.
Migrant arrivals into Britain from the European Union have just shot up since 2004 when eight former Soviet bloc countries were included into the union.
The prison statistics, which date back to 2002, show that since then the number of Europeans jailed for robbery has doubled. For violent crimes it has more than trebled, and for sex crimes it has quadrupled.
The costs incurred after putting them inside runs to tens of thousands of pounds every year on each prisoner and also putting lot of pressure on Britain’s already overcrowded prison system.
Last year ministers signed up to the European Union prisoner transfer agreement, which meant foreign criminals could be sent home to serve sentences, but between December and March only ten were deported.
A report in February warned that dangerous foreign criminals may be slipping through the net when arrested in this country because police were not carrying out basic background checks.
A recent Home Office review also found that police fail to run checks on tens of thousands of EU nationals every year. Under data-sharing rules, those arrested can have their records checked but last year only 15 per cent of the 30,000 EU nationals arrested in Britain had their criminal histories explored.
Police have access to the European crime intelligence agency, Europol, and can also access an Interpol database which contains data on criminals from 190 states around the world.
A Ministry of Justice spokesman said thousands of foreign criminals from the UK are being removed every year either at the end of their sentence or to serve the rest of their term back home.
'The EU prisoner transfer agreement came into force in December, allowing the compulsory transfer of EU prisoners without their consent.’
Prisons Minister Crispin Blunt said he expected to see ‘a steady increase in the number of EU nationals who were transferred’ as a result of the legislation.