They could be anywhere

GOVERNMENT officials today admitted they had no idea how many of the 1,023 overseas criminals it failed to consider deporting could be in Suffolk.A spokeswoman for the Home Office today said despite the issue of deportation being raised to a Public Accounts Committee last year it was only now trawling back through prison records to determine where they could be.

GOVERNMENT officials today admitted they had no idea how many of the 1,023 overseas criminals it failed to consider deporting could be in Suffolk.

A spokeswoman for the Home Office today said despite the issue of deportation being raised to a Public Accounts Committee last year it was only now trawling back through prison records to determine where they could be.

The spokeswoman said: “Through the Public Accounts Committee last year it was asked how many were removed and how many deported.

“We are looking back through records and have acknowledged we have failed to deport people at the end of their sentence. It is now our priority to take steps to ensure we can deport people as appropriate.”

It is also emerged that when foreign offenders are told they will be deported at the end of their sentence by a judge, this is only a recommendation and does not mean it will happen until their case to stay in Britain is reviewed by officials.

Home Secretary Charles Clarke admitted he had considered resigning over the bungle which has put murderers, rapists and paedophiles back on the streets since 1999. He nevertheless made clear that he was determined to resist pressure to quit.

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Downing Street has said that Mr Clarke had the full confidence of the Prime Minister.

Mr Clarke acknowledged t he did not know whether any of the criminals released had gone on to be arrested for further crimes.

It revealed nearly 300 of the prisoners were released after the Government were informed of the problem last summer. Among the total of 1,023 foreign criminals were three murderers, nine rapists and five paedophiles. Mr Clarke said he could not promise that all 1,023 would be traced.

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