London: As many as 3,980 criminals of foreign origin, who should have been sent back to their own countries, were freely roaming the streets of Britain, according to a parliamentary answer to Indian-origin MP Priti Patel`s question.
The criminals include murderers and rapists. Though the government wants to deport them, many cannot be sent back because of their human rights, the Daily Mail reported.
Tory MP Patel, who asked a question that led to the publication of the figures, called for the abolition of the Human Rights Act.
"Lax immigration and border controls inherited from the previous Labour government have left this mess and the current government must take all steps necessary, including abolishing the Human Rights Act, to get these people removed from Britain," Patel was quoted as saying.
"The public deserve to have a robust immigration system in place to keep them safe instead of laws and rules designed to help foreigners remain in Britain when they should have no right to be here."
"Hard-pressed taxpayers will be disgusted to learn that they are footing the legal fees and living costs associated with this number of foreigners overstaying their welcome," Patel said.
Officials say thousands of criminals use the Human Rights Act, which guarantees the "right to family life", or fears about violence in the countries they left as a way to dodge deportation.
Ministers said that last year a string of murders and sex attacks were committed by foreign nationals who should already have been sent back.
Foreign criminals on immigration bail have committed three murders, three kidnappings and 14 sexual offences, including rape, the daily said.
Official figures show that there have also been arrests in relation to 27 other "violent crimes" and 64 thefts.