Crime by foreigners doubles in five years
Crime committed in the UK by foreign nationals has doubled in just five years, police figures have revealed.
By David Barrett, Home Affairs Correspondent
Last Updated: 10:06PM GMT 07 Mar 2009
Records disclosed by 10 police forces reveal a 120 per cent rise in the number of non-Britons arrested, charged or convicted of offences between 2003 and 2008.
And figures from 20 forces, covering more than half the population of England and Wales, show that foreigners committed or were accused of more than 70,000 offences last year – pointing to a nationwide total of well over 100,000 offences if all 43 forces had provided figures.
The figures, released under the Freedom of Information Act, will renew public debate over immigration, border controls and the deportation of convicted foreign criminals at the end of their jail sentences, the issue which cost Charles Clarke his job as Home Secretary.
The steep rise in crime committed by foreigners comes despite an overall fall in the number of crimes recorded by police during the five-year period.
However, the rise has coincided with a sharp increase in the number of migrants coming to live in the UK since the European Union expanded in 2004 to take in eight former Eastern Bloc countries including Poland.
In London, the Metropolitan Police recorded a rise in the number of foreigners accused of crimes from 21,000 in 2003 to 47,000 last year, an increase of 123 per cent.
In Cambridgeshire, a county which has seen high levels of eastern European immigration, arrests of foreign nationals leapt from 762 to 3,350 in the same period. In both areas, around one in five of all crimes is now carried out by a foreigner, the figures suggest.
In the West Midlands, the number of foreign nationals accused of crimes jumped from 3,700 to 8,000 in five years. Last year 3,199 crimes were carried out by foreign nationals in Northumbria, 1,253 in Merseyside and 1,223 in Surrey.
Only 10 forces – including the Met, Britain's biggest – were able to provide comparative figures across the five-year period. Among the forces which did not provide data, 12, including Greater Manchester, Thames Valley and Essex, claimed not to record the nationality of criminals, while 11 failed to respond.
Among the 15 police forces which were able to give a breakdown by type of offence, there were 120 murders last year for which a foreign national was the prime suspect, and 426 rapes or attempted rapes.
Notorious foreign killers include Nigerian-born Chester Dauda, who stabbed to death a 17-year-old student at a New Year's Eve party in Barking, east London, in 2007.
Sentencing Dauda last July to a minimum of 14 years' imprisonment, Judge Martin Stephens QC described the incident as a "deliberate act of outrageous violence".
Last week two Lithuanians, Vitas Plytnykas, 41, and Aleksandras Skirda, 20, were handed life sentences for torturing and killing a fellow Lithuanian, Jolanta Bledaite, before cutting up her body and dumping it in the sea at Arbroath, Scotland.
Chris Grayling, the shadow home secretary, called the findings "truly shocking". He said: "We simply cannot become a soft option for criminals from overseas.
It's time we had a proper border police force to stop criminals entering the country, and took tougher action against those who have come here to commit offences."
David Davies, the Tory MP for Monmouth, said: "It is important to say that not all foreign nationals are criminals, but these are worrying statistics.
"It should be made completely clear to people that if they are fortunate enough to be allowed into this country they should obey the rules. If they do not, the smallest transgression should lead to swift deportation."
Sir Andrew Green, chairman of Migrationwatch, said: "These statistics are partial but they confirm a great deal of anecdotal evidence. I have lost count of the number of magistrates who have told me privately of their concerns about the high proportion of cases coming before them which involve immigrants."
In London, foreign nationals were arrested last year over 13,500 drugs offences, 1,210 burglaries, 930 rapes or other sexual offences, and 13,748 violent crimes including 78 murders.
In the West Midlands, foreigners were accused of just under 1,500 offences of violence against the person and robbery last year, up from 401 in 2002.
Other foreign murderers have included:
* Roberto Malasi, an 18-year-old Angolan asylum-seeker who stormed into a christening party in Peckham, south-east London, in 2005 and shot dead a 33-year-old woman as she cradled her baby niece, and while on the run stabbed to death an 18-year-old pastor's daughter;
* Yusuf Jama, a Somali asylum-seeker, who was in the gang that shot dead Pc Sharon Beshenivsky in Bradford in 2005;
* Michal Pech, a Slovak army deserter, who shot dead his former lover Clare Bernal at Harvey Nichols department store in London in 2005, before shooting himself;
* David Bieber, an American bouncer wanted for murder in his homeland, who shot dead Pc Ian Broadhurst in Leeds in 2003.
A Home Office spokeswoman said: "The vast majority of people who come to the UK willingly abide by our laws. However, we will not tolerate those that abuse our hospitality by becoming involved in crime.
"We now automatically consider for deportation all foreign nationals who commit a serious crime in the UK. Indeed, last year we deported a record 5,000 foreign criminals and we intend to beat that record this year."