How arrests of criminals roaming the streets on licence are going unmonitored after convicted sex…

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Arrests of convicted criminals roaming the streets while released on licence are still going unmonitored 18 months after convicted sex attacker Jordan McSweeney was left free to hunt down and murder law graduate Zara Aleena.MailOnline can exclusively reveal that the government is not recording any data on the numbers of convicted criminals who are arrested after being freed from prison due to involvement in further offences.
It follows the June 2022 sexual assault and murder of Zara Aleena by Jordan McSweeney, who had been released on licence and should have been recalled to prison days previously.
The latest data shows there were 238,264 offenders on probation at the end of June 2023, but neither the Ministry of Justice or the Home Office know how many of these individuals have been detained on suspicion of crimes by police.
It comes after MailOnline revealed McSweeney was last year caught having sex with a prison worker in a locked room inside Belmarsh prison, one of the UK’s top security jails.
MailOnline attempted to obtain data on the number of arrests made concerning those on licence, but was told: ‘The requested data is not held’.
Zara’s aunt Farah Naz said the missing data is ‘disappointing’ and could ‘play a part [in] further crimes’, as campaigners also slammed the lack of oversight.
Ms Naz said: ‘It is disappointing that government bodies do not hold rudimentary data on arrests made upon individuals in the community on licence.
Surely this information would serve as a vital guide to the justice system?’ She added she was shocked no-one in government is tracking arrests of criminals released into the community, saying it should ‘be an important part of any monitoring and evaluation of the justice system’.
She continued: ‘We keep on finding holes in the systems, these holes had a part to play in the murder of our Zara and will play a part for further crimes.
‘We must not sit on our hands, we must continue to ask questions and demand change to make services better suited to do the job they appear to be doing.’ The Home Office told MailOnline: ‘The Home Office collects and publishes data on arrests in England and Wales […] However, data is not collected on whether the individual committed this offence whilst on licence after being released from custody.’ The Ministry of Justice also said it does not hold such data, and referred MailOnline to the Home Office.
The black hole in the figures used by government arises as the Ministry of Justice records data on those on licence, while the Home Office records overall data on arrests.
Neither department has information on arrest figures for those on licence, which is only held by individual police forces.
Women’s Aid told MailOnline the missing data ‘weakens the government’s response to incredibly serious crimes being committed against women and girls’.
A spokesperson said: ‘We know that criminal justice data can be limited by several factors – from underreporting, as women face barriers when it comes to disclosing to police, through to different data collection practices across criminal justice agencies.
‘This makes it more difficult to form an accurate picture of the crimes committed against women and girls – in terms of their prevalence, outcomes and the characteristics of perpetrators and victims.
‘The murder of Zara Aleena was atrocious, and it is vital that statutory agencies in the criminal justice system learn important lessons from it, to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
‘Improving criminal justice data collection is an essential step to understanding how perpetrators escalate their violence and preventing serious and fatal crimes – before it is too late.’ Zara Aleena was fatally attacked and sexually assaulted by McSweeney a week after he was released from prison on licence.
McSweeney had 28 previous convictions for 69 separate offences at the time of the murder including burglary, theft of a vehicle, criminal damage, assaulting police officers and assaulting members of the public while on bail.
He was released on June 17, just eight days before he murdered Ms Aleena.
The Metropolitan Police said the Probation Service had commenced recall proceedings on June 22 after he missed two probation appointments.
On the night of Ms Aleena’s murder, McSweeney pursued multiple women before happening across the 35-year-old.
Since being jailed for life, MailOnline revealed that McSweeney had sex with a female prison worker inside a locked room at Belmarsh prison last year.
The 32-year-old woman, who is not a prison officer, was suspended and arrested on suspicion of misconduct in a public office.
An internal investigation is said to be underway into how the incident occurred.
HMP Belmarsh, a category A prison with capacity for 792 male inmates, is where some of the UK’s most dangerous inmates are sent, including those imprisoned for crimes involving national security.
The Ministry of Justice has previously warned it takes all allegations of staff wrongdoing ‘extremely seriously’, adding that staff found guilty of inappropriate relationships with prisoners can be sent to prison themselves.
The revelation also comes amid public concern following the announcement that hundreds of inmates can be released early in a desperate bid to tackle prison overcrowding.
Justice Secretary Alex Chalk announced in October that hundreds of inmates serving up to four years would have 18 days cut from their sentences under an emergency plan.
Although sex offenders and serious violent offenders are exempt from the scheme, criminals who have committed lesser violent crimes will be up for early release.
Campaigners have raised fears this could result in people who have committed offences relating to domestic abuse being freed early.
Mr Chalk also confirmed that the measures, in place for a ‘limited period’, would see judges asked not to hand down short prison sentences, with lower-level offences given community sentences instead.
Both the Ministry of Justice and the Home Office declined to comment.

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