Author: DAVID WILCOCK, WHITEHALL CORRESPONDENT FOR MAILONLINE
Illegal immigrants are avoiding deportation because ‘poorly trained, overworked’ Home Office staff are putting them on flights without a security escort, whistleblowers have claimed.
Foreign nationals being sent home are reportedly being placed on planes alone, before causing disruption which then can lead to pilots refusing to take off with them aboard.
This means that some flights then have to be ‘abandoned’, sources at the Government department told the Guardian.
One whistleblower told the paper the use of escort staff on flights was ‘erratic’.
‘One of the main reasons planned deportations don’t go ahead is because a poorly trained, overworked caseworker has gambled that an applicant with a history of kicking off on planes, won’t do it again, so doesn’t give them an escort,’ they claimed.
‘But then they do kick off and the deportation has to be abandoned.’
The claim is among a slew of criticism of the Home Office’s working systems, including incentivising staff to reject asylum applications and poor training for those interviewing applicants.
The flights taking people refused the right to remain in Britain back to their countries of origin have proved highly controversial and have been targeted by protesters.
In February 15 protesters who targeted a flight at Stansted Airport in Essex, forcing a plane carrying 60 deportees to stay in on the ground, avoided jail sentences.
The militants, known as the ‘Stansted 15’, were convicted last year using an aviation law passed after the Lockerbie bombing in 1988 when a jury agreed their actions to stop the Boeing 767 could have caused catastrophe.
They cut through metal fencing and then held themselves together by using piping to create ‘lock boxes’ filled with expanding building foam to stop a deportation flight taking off for Africa in March 2017.
The disruption cost Stansted £1million in delays – money they have no hope of getting back – and the 60 people due for deportation had to be removed from the plane.
But they were given a mixture of suspended sentences and community orders.
Protests have prevented serious criminals from being legally deported.
In October last year the deportation of Somalian Yaqub Ahmed was dramatically halted after airline passengers staged a mutiny on a flight due to leave Heathrow bound for Istanbul.
It was later revealed the 29-year-old was a convicted rapist jailed for a 2007 gang attack on a 16-year-old stranger after she became separated from her friends during a night out in London’s Leicester Square,
Officials escorting him on a Turkish Airlines flight were forced to abandon his deportation when around a dozen holidaymakers who felt sorry for him angrily intervened shortly before take-off.
He was seen thanking those on board for their support as they cheered and applauded, with one person heard declaring: ‘You’re free, man!’
A Home Office spokesperson said: ‘We do not comment on specific operational matters.’