The Home Secretary’s promise to crack down on foreign criminals dodging deportation has been thrown into doubt by farcical new failures to secure the removal of offenders.
The Mail on Sunday has unearthed two cases that demonstrate the urgent need for the new fast-track deportation legislation promised last month by Priti Patel.
In one, an Albanian gangster jailed for six years for driving his car at police while fleeing a £1 million drugs bust, avoided deportation by arguing he would be at risk from a ‘blood feud’ if he was sent home.
Home Secretary Priti Patel meets new recruits during a visit to Sussex Police Headquarters in Lewes, East Sussex on Monday 6 July
In the other, an Iraqi refugee dodged deportation after he was released early from prison by mistake and went on to become a notorious county lines drug kingpin.
The cases highlight the legal hurdles faced by the authorities when trying to deport serious foreign criminals.
Three weeks ago, Ms Patel told the Commons: ‘The Government’s position is, if you abuse our hospitality and commit crimes in the UK, we will do everything in our power to remove you.’
Yet the number of serious offenders deported has fallen by 11% in the year to March from 5,327 to 4,743.
David Spencer, research director at think-tank the Centre for Crime Prevention, said: ‘It is scandalous there are thousands of foreign criminals living freely in our communities when they should long since have been deported.’
One such offender is Resul Rahova, a convicted Albanian drug dealer. After arriving here in October 2011, he was granted refugee status with limited leave to remain until February 2017.
Cocaine dealer Resul Rahova, who was jailed for six years after driving his Mazda at police while fleeing a £1 million drugs bust, posted a picture of himself on his cell on August 11th surrounded by plates of food and a can of Pepsi
Handed a six-year jail term for drug offences in 2016, he dodged a Home Office deportation bid the following year by successfully arguing he was at risk of a ‘blood feud’ in Albania.
Despite further attempts to kick Rahova out, he has been allowed to stay here under the Human Rights Act. Meanwhile, Iraqi refugee and convicted drug dealer Serook Saeed, 33, avoided deportation after being released early from jail by mistake.
He took advantage of his freedom to become a county lines drugs boss. Saeed, who argued his life would be in danger in Iraq, is now back behind bars after being convicted of heading a gang running heroin and cocaine from London into Kent.
Given he was not only able to avoid deportation but also received asylum due to an earlier blunder, it is unclear if he will face a new deportation order once released from his current sentence.
Last night, the Home Office said: ‘Deportation was pursued tenaciously against both these individuals… Where new offending occurs, we will consider fresh deportation action. The Home Secretary is looking into reforming the system to ensure those who come to this country and commit crimes can be deported faster.’
In a further statement, Home Secretary Priti Patel said: ‘This Government’s position on foreign national offenders could not be clearer. If you abuse our hospitality and commit crimes in the UK, we will do everything in our power to remove you.
‘But tougher action is needed to speed up the removal process and deter foreign criminals from entering the country. I will be changing the law and introducing the foreign national offenders legislation (as announced in the Queen’s Speech) to maximise the removal of FNOs and stop them from returning to the UK in breach of a deportation order.
‘In simple terms we need to change our laws to make it easier to deport foreign national offenders.’
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