Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Silence on foreign offenders as Lewisham records 3rd highest level of registered sex offenders in London: Part two of two
The challenge of managing people on the Sex Offender Register is being debated, and since Lewisham has the third highest amount of offenders in London, this is a matter that should concern locals. In the latest London MAPPA Annual Report 2005-6, Government agencies are inviting comments on the work being done. It is alarming that the Immigration and Nationality Department is not listed as a participating agency in light of the possibility of foreign Sex Offenders.

It is worrying to learn that there is no national protocol between the IND and the probation service. So there is no obligation on IND to inform MAPPA agencies of actions such as deportation or removal, even if the IND is aware of someone on the Sex Offender Register. This doesn’t mean it’s impossible, only that it’s more difficult to do. And then there are the legal considerations: All British citizens, Commonwealth citizens with right of abode and Irish citizens (under certain requirements) cannot be removed or deported. Those from EU countries stand a better chance of being kicked out if sentenced for more than two years, better still with a Court recommendation but unlikely if the sentence is less than two years. Confirmed refugees are very difficult, if not impossible to get rid of, while asylum seekers must have their asylum claim settled before they can be considered for removal or deporting. Anyone outside of these areas, have a good chance of being forced out of the UK if their sentence is more than one year but little chance if under a year.

It seems to me that a protocol between IND and the MAPPA agencies is vital if the public is to feel confident that all is being done to provide a safe environment for them. Memories are still fresh of the fiasco earlier this spring with released prisoners who could have been sent back to their home countries. So why should taxpayers finance the monitoring of sex offenders if they are eligible for removal or deportation? Why look after those who have abused British hospitality in one of the worst ways possible? They should go, and sooner rather than later…

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