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Tuesday, 7 July 2009

1,000 Dangerous Criminals at Large

Earlier this week it was reported that up to 1,000 dangerous convicts have not been returned to prison after committing further offences whilst out on licence.

Incredibly, some police forces have refused to identify the men they are seeking - claiming that it might breach their right to privacy under data protection laws.

From the Mail:

Incredibly, some police forces are refusing to identify the danger men, citing data protection laws.

The Government knew little or nothing of the fiasco until after a review was ordered two years ago.

The findings were made public yesterday, sparking a belated police hunt to find the fugitives.

Those who remain on the run include 20 murderers, 15 rapists and five paedophiles.

Of the 954 criminals wrongly at large, at least 59 have re-offended, including crimes of rape.

The figures reignited concerns about the ability of the police and probation service to protect the public, and privately some ministers were known to be unhappy with the police.

Last month, both services were heavily criticised when it emerged that Dano Sonnex was free to kill French students Laurent Bonomo and Gabriel Ferez despite being recalled to jail.

The scandal, which was announced jointly by Home Secretary Alan Johnson and Justice Secretary Jack Straw, has echoes of the foreign prisoner fiasco in which 1,000 overseas convicts were mistakenly freed without being even considered for deportation, leading to the sacking of of Charles Clarke as Home Secretary in 2006.

Yesterday's revelations are understood to stem from reviews ordered in the wake of that debacle to see what other 'horrors' were lurking in the corridors of Whitehall.

Officials were asked to check how many criminals released early from jail on licence were subsequently recalled to jail by probation officers worried about their conduct.

Names were checked against police records of who had actually been arrested. It was discovered that 19 offenders recalled between 1984 and 1999 remain at large, including a murderer wanted since 1984.

A further 142 have been on the run for between five and ten years. In addition, 180 criminals released early from prison since June 2007 under a controversial scheme to reduce overcrowding are still free.

Harry Fletcher of Napo, the probation union, said: 'It is of real concern that nearly one thousand offenders who have been recalled to custody have gone missing. Many pose a threat to the public.'

1 comment:

Dr.D said...

There should be no right to privacy for a criminal who has been called back to custody. If he is wanted and being hunted, all rights to privacy should be forfeit automatically and there should be no concern about invasion of privacy in connection with hunting them down. Anything else is simply plain stupid.