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Last Updated: Monday, 9 October 2006, 19:26 GMT 20:26 UK
Three foreign prisoners at large
Home Office
The Home Office was criticised over the scandal
Three of the most serious offenders at the centre of the foreign prisoners row which erupted in April remain at large six months on, the Home Office says.

The government came under fire after it emerged more than 1,000 foreign prisoners were released without being considered for deportation.

It led to Home Secretary Charles Clarke resigning. Replacement John Reid said his department was not fit for purpose.

So far, the government has managed to deport 86 foreign prisoners.

Sex offenders, violent criminals and killers were among those released.

Of the most serious cases, the government said there was strong evidence to suggest that two were no longer in the UK, leaving three at large.

Scandal

Shadow home secretary David Davis said: "It is stunning that almost a year after this issue was first raised and six months since John Reid has been in place, we have this incredibly slow progress.

"These are truly appalling figures."

Lin Homer, director general of the Immigration and Nationality Directorate, said in a letter to the Commons' all-party Home Affairs Select Committee: "Our records show that actual deportation or removal has now occurred in a total of 86 cases of the 1,013.

"This should be set against the fact that we are pursuing deportation in 725 cases."

Only four of the group of 44 most serious offenders have been deported, the letter showed.

In the lower, "more serious" category - which covers other violent offenders such as armed robbers and other sexual offenders - a third of the 146 are still at large.

There have been "no reports" to suggest any of the 1,013 foreign prisoners committed further crimes, Ms Homer added.

Last month, the unit set up to trace the foreign prisoners was closed.

Mr Reid said the decision to close it was on police advice and he added that efforts to ascertain the fate of the remaining criminals would go on.




SEE ALSO
Foreign criminal unit disbanded
24 Sep 06 |  UK Politics
How the deportation story emerged
27 May 06 |  UK Politics
Q&A: Prisoner deportation process
25 May 06 |  UK Politics

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