As feared, it would appear that two of the foreign criminals released without being considered for deportation thanks to Home Office blunders have gone on to face rape charges, with three others also found to have reoffended – ranging from dabbling with drugs to inflicting bodily harm. Meanwhile, 63 of the 79 high-risk ex-cons remain unaccounted for.
How is Charles Clarke’s position tenable? Sod that – how is the Home Office’s position tenable? And what does it say for our justice system that apparently dangerous criminals are being released into the community, despite being classified as “high risk”, and not being kept tabs on – even after high-profile murders committed by violent criminals who have been released early?
What happened to “Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime”? Yes, introducing a Supreme Court is a nice idea, and greater co-operation between crimefighting agencies and police forces could help. But why, after nine years in government, hasn’t Labour actually managed to sort this out?
They’ve been quite happy to scrap other government departments – perhaps it’s time to rethink the very existence of the Home Office and position of Home Secretary, and create a series of more focussed ministerial briefs without one person having to cope with all the myriad duties and responsibilities that being Home Secretary entails. Because considering that this latest scandal has been going on unnoticed and unfixed for seven years already, it would appear that the current system at the heart of government – let alone the machinery designed to keep our streets safe – is simply unable to cope.
Plus, as doubtless pointed out elsewhere, none of the current new governmental surveillance plans – ID cards and the like – would be of any use in this situation at all. Not only are these people foreign nationals, some doubtless here illegally anyway, and so would not be on the National Identity Register, but they’ve also simply dropped off the government’s radar seemingly as soon as they’d stepped out of the prison gates.
ID cards will be fine to track the law-abiding Mr and Mrs Boggins, but this is yet more proof that it is precisely the hardened, dangerous criminals that those pieces of plastic and the all-knowing database are supposedly designed to protect us from who will fail to be monitored once it’s introduced. Because if the government can’t keep tabs on a thousand odd convicted criminals, how the hell can they be expected to keep tabs on nearly sixty million of us?
(And, of course, this is before you even begin to consider the other ramifications of getting scared about people who have apparently all perfectly legally been released from prison having served their time…)