There is “no single version of the truth” in the Home Office when it comes to removing foreign criminals from the UK, according to the borders and immigration watchdog.
David Neal, the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, cited numerous concerns about the process of removing foreign offenders and the process of record-keeping within the Home Office.
Ministers in recent months have repeatedly stressed the Government’s push to remove foreign national offenders – those who have been convicted of an offence in the UK and sentenced to at least 12 months in prison.
Mr Neal, in his foreword to the report, said that the Home Office “frequently cites its determination to remove foreign national offenders”.
But the watchdog found repeated problems in Home Office operations, describing the approach to record-keeping in one particular area as “no way to run a government department”.
In the Commons on Thursday, Labour’s Yvette Cooper attacked Home Secretary Suella Braverman over the “damning” report.
“She is running it. This Home Secretary is running this chaos, failing to sort out the boats crisis, failing to clear the backlog or mend the broken asylum system. Failing to get a grip.”
The 84-page report offered a detailed look at the removal process and in his foreword, Mr Neal found that the “Home Office’s performance in this area is not efficient”.
Mr Neal cited particular concerns about the “underperforming” early removal scheme and the availability of data.
He wrote: “This inspection found that the only way for the Home Office to identify a nationality cohort awaiting deportation was to manually trawl through multiple spreadsheets. For an operation of this size to be run like this is unacceptable.
“For any operation to be effective, there needs to be a single version of the truth, and for FNOs (foreign national offenders) it does not exist. Worryingly, I found no evidence of a strategy to build one.”
Elsewhere, he found that there was “insufficient information to effectively identify which FNOs could be removed from the country today”.
He said: “The Home Office does not have an overarching view of its case-working system. In order to establish the current state of a particular case, case owners have to manually interrogate individual case records.
“This is no way to run a government department.”
Shadow home secretary Ms Cooper accused Ms Braverman of having “no grip” over her department and of trying to discreetly publish the damning report when many are distracted by the appeal court ruling over her asylum policy.
“While all eyes are on the Government’s chaotic Rwanda policy, this is a shameful attempt by the Home Secretary to slip out a damning report into her failing management of foreign national offenders,” the Labour MP said.
“The number of foreign national offender removals has plummeted and Suella Braverman’s Home Office is failing badly on data and casework. Her failure to follow basic warnings from the Inspectorate has left more dangerous criminals on the streets, putting public safety at risk.”
Source: MSN UK
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