Joint operation is sweeping foreign criminals from UK streets

Foreign criminals are being swept from London’s streets through a new joint operation between police and the border agency, according to Barking and Dagenham’s borough commander.

Operation Nexus has seen teams from the Metropolitan Police Service and United Kingdom Border Agency based in every custody suite across the capital and working to improve links with foreign police services.

Nexus teams can run checks to establish if arrested foreign nationals are wanted abroad, have previous convictions abroad or are here illegally, in the same way checks are made into UK offenders’ histories.

Andy Ewing, borough commander for Barking and Dagenham, said: “London is an ‘international’ city and we are taking steps to ensure that we have as significant an impact of offenders from abroad as we do on British offenders. This applies across the board, from gang arrests to burglars to those committing domestic violence.

“Arresting British criminals is more straight forward as we know more about them. In order to level up the playing field between foreign nationals and domestic suspects we need to improve the information sharing currently in place in order to bring all law breakers to justice no matter where they come from.”

According to police, 27 per cent of all those arrested for a criminal offence are foreign nationals. Assistant police commissioner Mark Rowley said: “Around eight million people live in London and what all residents expect is a police service that does its utmost to keep them safe.

Thirty-three per cent of those London residents are now thought to be foreign nationals, which are reflected in the percentage of people we are arresting.”

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Criminals posing a high level of threat are barred from gaining British citizenship while cases are brought against them or while they are in the UK justice system.

Any offender who is deported by the team usually cannot return to the UK for ten years, although Nexus checks are being run even before people enter the country on behalf of British Embassies abroad when an application for visa is made.

In future teams aim to pass fingerprints and other forensic details through databases around the world to see if people are known or wanted for offences in other countries.