Sunday, December 23, 2007

British government relaxed about foreign criminals

Amusing that the BBC have substantially altered the article below since I downloaded it!

Immigration officials have "no interest" in deporting foreign prisoners who have served less than 12 months in jail, a leaked memo says. The admission was made in a memo from Prison Service deputy director general Michael Spurr to prison governors. The Tories say it means at least 4,000 foreign criminals a year being released rather than deported.

Ministers promised tougher measures after 1,013 foreign prisoners were not considered for deportation last year. They included serious offenders such as murderers and rapists, and the crisis led to the sacking of former home secretary Charles Clarke.

In May 2006 the then prime minister Tony Blair said he was prepared to change the law to ensure most foreign prisoners were deported automatically. Ministers pledged to remove 4,000 overseas prisoners by the end of 2007.

BBC home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw said that the memo presented a different picture. While it did not go against official policy, the dismissive language used was potentially embarrassing for the government, he said. Mr Spurr wrote that immigration officials had confirmed that "as a rule they have no interest" in pursuing for deportation foreign nationals jailed for less than 12 months. The document also says foreign nationals who are awaiting removal for immigration offences could be moved to open prisons, to create space in other jails.

The Conservatives say that would increase the risk of foreign prisoners absconding, and ignoring prisoners who serve less than 12 months would mean at least 4,000 criminals would escape deportation. Shadow justice secretary Nick Herbert said: "The result will be that foreign thieves, fraudsters, burglars and drugs dealers will be released back into the community. "Gordon Brown claimed that he wanted to send a message that foreign criminals would be deported. "It takes a special kind of cynicism to promise tough action on foreign criminals while simultaneously instructing that the majority of them are to be released."

In October, it was revealed that two prisons, Bullwood Hall in Essex and Canterbury Prison in Kent, had been converted to hold only foreign prisoners. The Ministry of Justice said the jails, which have immigration and language services, were part of a plan to deport as many foreign prisoners as possible. In total, 2,784 prisoners from abroad were deported or removed between April 2006 and March 2007. More than 11,000 of the 81,000 prison population are foreign nationals


BA caught in a downward spiral of correctness

They started off being very correct by allowing hijabs and turbans. That made their attempts to ban crosses unsustainable. Now they get to the situation below. If they accomodate this guy -- as they probably will -- they will then have to allow their Muslim employees to break for prayer several times a day. If they had originally had the guts to insist on one rule for all, they would have been better off. But all they are good for these days is losing luggage so they may end up going broke anyway

A Jewish man has claimed that British Airways banned him from taking Saturdays off to observe the Sabbath. Daniel Rosenthal, a customer service agent at Heathrow, refused to work after BA told him that he could no longer have the day off.

The London Beth Din, the court of the Chief Rabbi, sent Mr Rosenthal a letter, which read: "We find it extraordinary that your employers are not prepared to respect your wish to continue observing our religion." Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, said that he was "very sad" about the situation.

A BA spokesman said: "If he chooses to stay in this job he will sometimes have to work on Saturdays. But in the meantime we have offered to sit down with him again and find another job." Last year BA was forced to back down after suspending a Christian airport worker for wearing a cross in breach of its uniform policy.


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