New initiative on illegal immigration in the UK…
four hundred and forty police officers are being brought in.
“People-trafficking and all its associated evils
is one of the fastest-growing and most vicious crimes, yet the government’s policy so far has been one of neglect.”
Shadow home secretary
Home Secretary, John Reid, has unveiled plans for 800 new immigration staff – an increase of 25%.
In the plan, Britons involved in people-smuggling will be arrested, the public will be encouraged to report suspects and firms will face larger fines.
The 400 police constables and 40 sergeants moving across to the Immigration and Nationality Directorate will be joined by 360 newly-recruited immigration officers.
But police are “badly needed” on the beat, say the Conservatives, whilst the Lib Dems want “new, not redeployed” staff.
However, a Home Office spokeswoman insisted: “We are very clear that we do not want this to have an impact on police officers’ frontline work. There won’t be any police officers taken off the front line.”
But shadow home secretary, David Davis, criticised the government’s record on the subject.
“Over the last nine years, we have actually seen immigration officers instructed not to arrest illegal immigrants, merely to meet the prime minister’s artificial targets on removing failed asylum-seekers. People-trafficking and all its associated evils is one of the fastest-growing and most vicious crimes, yet the government’s policy so far has been one of neglect.”
Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, Nick Clegg, said: “a truly integrated border force” is needed rather than to “shift police officers away from their current duties. The government itself has admitted it would cost £104m to secure every port of entry into this country.” Clegg goes on to ask: “Why then has John Reid failed to announce any new funding while tens of thousands of pounds a day are wasted on identity cards?”
Under the plans, members of the public will – for the first time – be able to report illegal workers and illegal immigrants using the free Crimestoppers telephone line from 1 January.
I’m fearful that’s going to lead to discrimination
against anybody who looks as though
they might be a foreigner
Immigration Advisory Service
The government has already said it would be doubling the budget for deportations to nearly £300m, and a bill tackling deportations was included in last week’s Queen’s Speech.
And, by the end of 2007, ministers intend to create 650 extra detention spaces for illegal immigrants
The measures are seen as a response to criticism from political opponents about a perceived failure to deport enough of those identified as being in the UK illegally.
There were nearly 5,000 deportations in the last three-month period for which figures were available – a record – but it estimated that 500,000 people remain in the UK illegally.
The idea of penalising businesses is apparently not favoured by the Immigration Advisory Service, which said firms would become “reluctant to recruit anybody”.