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Police Not Checking Backgrounds of Foreign Criminals, Report Warns

An official review found that UK police are only conducting background checks on one in seven foreign criminals, while tens of thousands are slipping through the cracks. In the courts last year alone, some 35,000 EU citizens were convicted but previous foreign offences were only sought from the Central Authority for the Exchange of Criminal Records (UKCA) in 5,500 cases, meaning that judges did not know the full offending history of criminals when passing a sentence in the majority of the cases. The report brought light to the serious issue of foreign criminals working in sensitive positions or with children without their employers knowing their true past. Funding cuts to the UKCA could make the problem worse and pose a “potentially huge” risk to the public, since the report revealed that more than one million crimesare not on the Police National Computer because forces are refusing to pay a fee to obtain the criminal history of offenders. It is recommended that potential employers should be allowed to request a foreign background check if the applicant agreed, and that more work should be done to include fingerprints along with previous convictions to stop offenders turning up in the UK claiming to be someone else.

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