Many of Denmark's most notorious gang members do not have Danish citizenship and a majority in parliament believes those persons should therefore be deported if convicted of a crime, reports B.T. newspaper.
According to the National Police, 53 of the 141 people on its most wanted gang members list are not Danish citizens. Those figures have got the ruling Liberal-Conservative coalition and its governmental ally, the Danish People's Party, to now consider preparing legislation to expel those criminals from the country.
'If you come to this country and commit crimes as grievous as those the National Police has indicated, then you shouldn't be here,' said Liberal MP Søren Pind.
Peter Skaarup of the Danish People's Party agreed, saying deportation was a good solution to the nation's gang problems.
'If you aren't a Danish citizen then you should be able to be deported much easier than is the case today,' said Skaarup.
According to B.T., the opposition Social Democrats are now also ready to support making deportation of non-Danish criminals easier through a law change.
In addition, a poll taken last month by internet news source Altinget indicated that 86 percent of Danes supported deportation as appropriate punishment for non-Danish citizens convicted of serious crimes. In 2005, a European Union survey found that only 43 percent of Danes favoured extradition as an acceptable punishment.
And although figures for how many immigrants have received a deportation sentence over the years are not available, recent attempts at expulsion have had mixed results.
In response to a query from parliament's integration committee, integration minister Birthe Rønn Hornbech stated there were 11 immigrants without a Danish passport who, despite having received a previous deportation sentence by a court of law, are still living in Denmark on 'tolerated residence' status.
In those cases, the person cannot be sent back to their country of origin either because they face the threat of persecution there or because they refuse to co-operate with the deportation process, according to public broadcaster DR.
The National Police have identified 14 groups in its latest report on gang crime. Of the 141 members listed, 39 have been convicted of a violent crime.
Source: Copenhagen Post (English)