More than 175 of London’s most prolific foreign national offenders (FNOs) have been removed from the UK in just a few months.
Operation Nexus was launched at the start of September to target the increasing number of high-harm FNOs and immigration offenders in London. Recent MPS intelligence showed that 28 per cent of all those arrested for a criminal offence in London were foreign nationals. The joint operation combines police and immigration intelligence and uses innovative new ways to tackle this specific type of criminal and remove them from the UK.
Immigration minister, Mark Harper said:
‘I’ve been clear that we will take all possible action against individuals who pose a risk to the public and remove them from the country at the earliest opportunity.
‘Through our combined work with the police we are using the full force of immigration powers on those who seek to commit crime and damage our communities.
‘The success of this operation proves that foreign nationals who continue to offend in this country will be arrested and removed from the UK.’
Nexus has already led to the removal of some of London’s highest-harm criminals including several prominent gang members in London and a violent sex-offender.
Many of the operation’s successes have come as a result of posting UKBA officers in 21 custody suites across London. This now allows UKBA to run real-time immigration checks on individuals bought into custody for a crime and establish if they are wanted abroad, have previous convictions abroad or are here illegally.
Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley said:
‘Nexus is not about targeting communities but making sure that, by maximising intelligence and smarter ways of working with UKBA and other international partners, we are as effective in dealing with offenders who are foreign nationals as we are with those from the UK.
‘We know that 28 per cent of all people arrested in London are foreign nationals, which reflects the population of this international and hugely diverse city, and emphasises why this operation is so important. We will continue to explore every tactic to make London safer for everyone.’
Nexus also provides the UKBA and police with additional tactics:
- The sharing of intelligence now supports the removal of cases where previous charges have been dropped due to victims or witnesses refusing to cooperate with police because of intimidation or fear of retaliation.
- Unknown prints at police crime scenes and other forensic markers are now being run against UKBA biometric databases in a bid to solve previously unsolved crimes, both in the UK and abroad.
- Working relationships have been established with police officers from countries where high volumes of offenders are identified to help share information and further speed up removals - 20 officers have already been seconded from Romania.