Poland sends a private plane a month to get back criminals who have fled to UK
Polish police are being forced to fly private planes to Britain each month to pick up hundreds of criminals wanted in their home country.
The number of extradition requests from Polish authorities for criminals who have fled to the UK has soared 14-fold in the past two years.
To cope with the surge, Poland is flying a private plane to the UK each month to pick up hundreds of suspects caught by Scotland Yard.
Those arrested are wanted for crimes including murder, rape, robbery, burglary, drugs and theft.
Extradition requests from Poland make up more than a quarter of all requests.
In the last 12 months, officers from the Metropolitan Police's Extradition Unit have been asked to track down 257 Poles across the UK.
The number is 70 per cent higher than from any other country. The second biggest requesting country is Lithuania with 76.
Police attribute the alarming rise partly to Poland's effective use of the European Arrest Warrant which came into force in January 2004.
But the sheer number of Polish nationals wanted by police in their home country raises concerns over how many are committing crimes here and how many may be slipping under the radar of the Polish authorities.
About 5 per cent of foreign suspects are already in jail for a crime committed in the UK when the Met is issued with an arrest warrant for them.
At least 600,000 Poles have come to the UK since Poland joined the EU in 2004 though the Government admits it does not have an accurate figure.
Schoolgirl Katerina Koneva, 12, was strangled at her home in Acton, West London in May 1997 by Andrezej Kunowski who had spent 15 years in jail in his native Poland for a series of sex offences.
The 51-year-old was awaiting trial for further sex attacks when in June 1996 he was freed on bail for urgent medical treatment and absconded. He came into Britain on a tourist visa.
He remained at large in the UK for six years after Katerina's murder and only when he was arrested for the rape of a student did police realise he was Katerina's killer. He is serving life in prison in Britain and will never be released.
Scotland Yard's Extradition and International Assistance Unit won £1million in funds this month for more officers to cope with the huge increase in workload.
There were 955 extradition requests in 2007, a rise of 78 per cent on the previous year. Other top requesting countries were the Czech Republic with 41, Germany with 40, Albania, 31, and France, 23.
In 2006, Poland was top again with 87 requests out of a total of 538. In 2005, Poland placed 18 requests, making it seventh in the league. Lithuania was top with 59 requests.
This summer British and Polish authorities discussed how to deal with the huge numbers being extradited and decided that using a private plane for the sole purpose of extradition was the best option.
The first flight touched down at a London airport in October and 20 suspects were flown back. In November, 17 were extradited.
Detective Inspector Paul Fuller, head of Scotland Yard's Extradition Unit, said: "It is a unique idea concerning the Metropolitan police and the Polish authorities.
"Of course it's been a problem for us to be at the airport to hand these people over 257 times.
"Now every month the Poles are supplying a private aeroplane that flies to the UK and takes them back en masse.
"Yes, we have half a day of difficulties with getting a lot of suspects in the same place at the same time but it is only for half a day with a little bit of planning before it.
"It's a win for everyone because I haven't got people at the airport every day. The Polish don't have to pay for airline tickets for escorts over here and back, along with a prisoner. They can do it all at once."
He added: "There are some wanted for minor offences but there are also many for serious offences - murder, robbery, rape, GBH - and we are successful in getting them and we will continue to be.
"If they are in England to hide, we'll find them."
The brits should be pleased that Poland is being so efficient with extradition orders. You can hardly compare the volument of the recent influx of Poles with the influx of other EU nationalities.
This is a typically negative article but should be a positive message. It also sends a warning to any Poles who want to escape Polish justice to hide in the UK.
Hans this is another anti Polish article, I wouldn't get over excited about its contents, you may want to consider the fact that if there are over 1m Poles working in Britain this is a very small percentage indeed.
People should be more worried with the Romanians and Bulgarians who are on the loose and who haven't been detected for there crimes. If it comes to crime look at the United States, there are currently more than 1 million people behind bars out of a population of 300 million. That reminds me there are a lot of nasty crimes committed in Germany.. hmmm
It's from a national newspaper reporting facts so if it's anti-Polish tough luck. Perhaps Poles shouldn't commit so many crimes
Perhaps Polish police should be less efficient? At least they are going to Polish prisons. Be thankful for the work the Polish police are doing. Why are british police not checking whether someone is wanted in another country before letting them into the UK in the first place? They scan passports now so there is supposed to be a database for this reason.
These stats need far more analysis if they are to be of any use in making assumptions about a nation's criminality.
>>Why are british police not checking whether someone is wanted in another country before letting them into the UK in the first place? They scan passports now so there is supposed to be a database for this reason.
Actually, the Polish authorities scan everyone's passports at the airport as you leave the country (at least at all of the Polish airports I've been to).
They scan when you leave the UK too. Someone told me it's to check whether you have paid all your parking tickets!
“It's from a national newspaper reporting facts so if it's anti-Polish tough luck. Perhaps Poles shouldn't commit so many crimes”
Offbeat, she just proved your point buddy. Less than 100 hundred Poles out of more than 1,000,000. It is laughable that this even gets reported. Compared to other immigrant groups in Great Britain (especially non-European) these numbers are completely insignificant. Poland is also one of the largest European countries and the largest recent EU addition.
Another sensationalist article. Newspapers are in the business of selling newspapers, not reporting facts. Then again, many people get excited over anything they read.
BTW, the US prison population is over 2,000,000. There are more than 5,000,000 former inmates currently on parole or probation.
The number is 70 per cent higher than from any other country!!
Too many of Poland 'unemployables' are coming here.
Yes it is worthy of an article.
"The number is 70 per cent higher than from any other country!!"
70% of what? You don't have enough information to make comparisons. I am amazed nobody sees the positive of this and is so easily taken in by media hype.
The fact that hundreds of convicted criminals and Poles on the run from justice in Poland are being sent back to Poland each month, certainly makes it worthy of reporting .
All foreigners should be checked on arrival at Dover.
My local newspaper's crime report is full of Polish names. And these Poles are being convicted of offences here.
If you examine crime figures you will see that the vast majority of crimes committed in major UK cities is committed by immigrants or the offspring of immigrants. Blacks top of the list by a long way. The same as in the US.
So I am now a criminal?
Nobody is saying that all Poles are criminals
But didn't the Polish President or Prime Minister refer to the recent Polish immigrants to the UK as riff-raff?
What was the exact quote...?
I'd be interested to hear the original Polish quote if anyone has it. The newspapers quoted the translation. The translator was apparently criticised in the Polish media for not using the right word.
Polish newspapers and politicians often state that because of the mass exodus of the unemployable (in Poland), crime has gone down and the official unemployment figures dropped. It wasn't just the President who said this once. It's a constant theme.
The latest Polish news reports tell of people earning big bucks in Ireland or Britain and continuing to claim disability or unemployment handouts here in Poland.
Almost all Poles working in Germany - many hundreds of thousands unofficially - claim to be disabled or unemployed back in POland.