Police checks monitoring scheme for residents from 44 countries secretly ditched
Strict police checks on foreigners living in Britain have been secretly abolished.
Tens of thousands of people from 44 countries – including Russia and China – no longer have to provide data to the police when they move to this country.
These include Middle Eastern states such as Iraq, Iran and Syria, which house terror cells that actively boast of a hostile agenda against Britain.
The checks, known as the police registration system, were abruptly halted late last week with no public announcement from the Home Office, Border Force or immigration authorities.
As late as 2016, an interior minister insisted the arrangement was necessary “to maintain security.”
Police have begun telling foreign nationals that the scheme has been “stopped with immediate effect” and all registration appointments have been cancelled.
Tens of thousands of people from 44 countries – including Russia and China – will no longer have to give details to the police if they move to this country
An immigration expert advising the Interior Ministry said: “It’s a shock. It happened at night. The information collected from these people is an important intelligence tool.
Public safety has not been considered. It is madness now that we are in the middle of a dispute with Russia and China, who each send their people to study or work in this country.’
But a spokesman for the Interior Ministry said last night: “These anonymous claims are false and misleading.
Dating back to the First World War, this scheme is no longer effective as data provided to the police is already collected by the Home Office when individuals apply to enter the UK.
“The police agree with the government and recommended that the scheme be abolished so that officers can focus on policing and solving crimes.
“It is not used by the police to monitor individuals and to claim otherwise is false.”
44 countries in the scheme
Afghanistan, Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belarus, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Colombia, Cuba, Egypt, Georgia, Hong Kong, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Libya , Macao , Moldova, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Palestinian Territories, Peru, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Yemen.
Registering long-term students, workers and visitors with the police has been routine for decades. It was introduced in 1909 amid concerns about German espionage.
The criteria used by the Ministry of the Interior to decide which nationalities should register with the police were never published.
But they are thought to be countries whose nationals are at higher risk of terrorism or other crime, or who are at higher risk of committing immigration crimes, such as visa violations.
The scheme applied to foreign nationals over the age of 16 who had been given permission to live in this country for longer than six months.
They had to go in person to a police station and pay £34 to have their documents verified.
They had to notify the police of any changes to their address, name or visa, and if they changed jobs.
Rules about who should register were set forth in the Department of the Interior’s immigration rules, which run up to 1,500 pages and have been criticized for their complexity.
Yesterday in a Met Police building in South London, used for all registrations by eligible foreigners in the capital, there was a sign on the door: ‘Police Registration Scheme has been abolished.’
South Yorkshire Police confirmed on Friday that the scheme had been withdrawn.
A statement on its website reads: “The general obligation under immigration rules for certain foreign nationals to register with the police has been dropped. From the moment you receive this report, you no longer need to report to the police.’
A similar announcement appeared on Nottingham University’s website.
In 2016, Lord Keen, then a Home Office spokesperson in the Lords, described to colleagues how the police registration system allowed details of foreign nationals to be formally recorded, adding: ‘This information is then recorded for the police and other law enforcement agencies. . to gain access, if necessary, to maintain security.’
Alp Mehmet, Chair of Migration Watch UK, said: ‘This raises questions about public safety and security and the Home Office should reconsider.
“It is ridiculous to remove such checks on Russian and Chinese nationals in particular, given everything that is going on. It’s just wrong and just dangerous.
“This is yet another indication of a lack of political will to properly control immigration.”
Last year, the Interior Ministry issued 166,646 visas to Chinese citizens, 30,736 to Russians, 8,897 to Afghans, 8,339 to Iranians, 5,929 to Iraqis, 4,098 to Syrians and 1,521 to Libyans.
The Council of National Police Chiefs said: ‘The council agreed with the assessment that the scheme no longer afforded any public protection to the police and supported the move to modernize reporting requirements for foreign nationals.
“Information needed by the police to conduct enforcement activities will continue to be available to those subject to visa requirements.”