A decision by the Home Office to use £260 million of taxpayers’ money to enforce immigration rules has fallen by nearly a quarter, reports the Guardian.
A Crown Prosecution Service’s report on an eight-month investigation into alleged unpaid fines has found the Home Office broke its own rules by only conducting enforcement last year. Ministers decided to revoke the current system of enforcement in 2011, but in the meantime imposed a budget of £260 million to fund it.
The Home Office was told in a March 2015 report that its “understanding of the immigration regime in England and Wales is such that the authority to implement immigration enforcement in the local area should be given by the local police authority”. The report said the Home Office “was aware of this responsibility” but “failed to appoint a control of enforcement” in some areas “and should do so as soon as possible”.
The Home Office said the “recent enforcement arrangements (even before grant of citizenship or other status) had a very high success rate of about 91%, which demonstrated the value of these actions”. But the report says: “The Home Office failed to commit officers to deliver its enforcement function. At a time when immigration enforcement would have been under increased demand from local authorities, the Home Office failed to identify new officers to be deployed for this purpose.”