South Yorkshire Police made 900 arrests for immigration offences in three years

Police release figures showing immigration offences
Police release figures showing immigration offences
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Nearly 900 people have been arrested for immigration offences in South Yorkshire over the last three years, new figures reveal.

Between June 1, 2015 and May 31, 2016, officers made 268 arrests, compared to 237 and 370 over the previous two years.

The figures were released by South Yorkshire Police under the Freedom of Information Act.

Former Commons Home Affairs Committee chairman Keith Vaz has called for 'urgent action' to be taken to tackle the problem nationally, with 39 of the 43 police forces in England and Wales releasing arrest data showing that 27,800 people were quizzed over immigration offences between 2013 and 2016.

Mr Vaz said the figures 'basically show that our border is not secure'.

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South Yorkshire Police records show that between June 1, 2015 and May 31, 2016 officers arrested 38 suspects from Iran, 28 from Iraq, 25 from Pakistan, 20 from Eritrea, 19 from China and India, 15 from Afghanistan and 13 from Sudan.

Others were from countries including Albania, Bangladesh, Poland and Nigeria.

The year before most suspects arrested over immigration offences were from Pakistan, followed by India, China, Iran, Bangladesh and Vietnam.

Between 2013 and 2014 most suspects were again from Pakistan followed by people from China, India, Bangladesh, Iran and Afghanistan.

Examples of reports of immigration offences dealt with by the force include a number of people being seen jumping from a lorry when it pulled up in Doncaster.

Officers were unable to find the suspects.

Calls were also received about people believed to be illegal immigrants working in Sheffield.

A South Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said: "While there has been an increase in the number of arrests over the last year, we are focusing on the reason as to why we may have seen the rise, which includes the possibility of trafficking, and there is work on-going to protect and safeguard individuals whose vulnerabilities may have been exploited.

"South Yorkshire Police work in partnership with the Yorkshire and Humber Immigration and Compliance Team. After a person has been arrested on suspicion of immigration offences, the Immigration and Compliance team continue the process.