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Last Updated: Sunday, 28 May 2006, 15:07 GMT 16:07 UK
Police tracking foreign criminals
Home Office
The Home Office has not confirmed the precise numbers
A team of detectives has been set up in Scotland to track down foreign criminals released without being considered for deportation.

Up to 20 specialist police and immigration officers are working on the nationwide operation, out of Cathcart Road police station in Glasgow.

A total of 1,019 foreign prisoners were wrongly freed by the Home Office.

Up to 100 could have been released in Scotland but officials have not been able to confirm the precise numbers.

The team has been set up by the Association of Chief Police Officers of Scotland (Acpos) and is being led by Strathclyde Police's assistant chief constable John Malcolm.

The purpose is to assist the Home Office in tracking down foreign national prisoners who should have been considered for deportation
Acpos spokesman

A spokesman for Acpos said it had no idea how many potential suspects there were in Scotland and that names and addresses of suspects would be supplied to the team by the Home Office when they became available.

He said: "I can confirm that we have set up an incident room within Strathclyde Police at Cathcart Road police office.

"The purpose is to assist the Home Office in tracking down foreign national prisoners who should have been considered for deportation.

"We are working with other agencies, including the prison service and immigration, to achieve that end."

The team has been in place for several weeks and is expected to be "for as long as it needs to be", according to Acpos.

Last week, the Home Office admitted they still do not know how many foreign prisoners incorrectly released had been sent home.

Of those known to be at large, 85 have been convicted of serious crimes including rape and murder.

Home Secretary John Reid revealed about a fifth of the 1,019 total had committed further attacks after their release.


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