Albanian criminals and migrants have shared TikTok videos boasting about how easy it is to remove ankle tags using just a pair of kitchen scissors.
The trackers are being dubbed ‘British Rolexes’ by Albanians, as hundreds have been tagged after arriving in the UK, either as part of their immigration bail or before deportation following release from prison.
Multiple videos show how easily the tags can be removed, with those filming them often detailing how to cut through the thin plastic bands and what to do once they are off.
A comment on one clip asks: ‘If I cut mine off and changed my address, would that work or am I still in trouble?’, to which a reply read: ‘When you cut it off, don’t go back home lol.’
It comes as the Home Secretary said she will not rule out expanding the use of electronic tracking devices on asylum seekers arriving on British shores.
In a round of interviews on Sunday, she said the Government was looking at it as one of a ‘range of options’ as concerns are growing over capacity at immigration centres.
One clip of a man removing his ankle tag had a Union Jack and Albanian flag emoji, along with a waving hand
One TikTok user who goes by ‘LocalAlbo’ shared a clip of himself cutting through his ankle tag
Criminals removing their trackers in online videos often appear unfazed by the threat of jail when removing their tags
While wider use of tagging is being considered, criminals removing their trackers in online videos often appear unfazed by the threat of jail when removing their tags.
The Telegraph reports that one man, who is asked: ‘Where are the police?’ flippantly replies: ‘In the police station, lol. I took it off myself.’
Another person appeared unbothered by the warning that removing tags can result in 28 days in jail, calling it ‘nothing’.
Albanians accounted for 28 per cent of foreign offenders on tags in 2022, according to data obtained by the Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration.
Plans first mooted a year ago to tag migrants who arrive illegally in small boats are now under fresh scrutiny as Rishi Sunak attempts to get a handle on immigration and stop people illegally gaining entry to the UK.
A dinghy carrying around 50 migrants drifts into the English Channel after being escorted out of French territory on Thursday
The migrants could be GPS tracked in real time and required to report via text message or in person to immigration officers multiple times a day.
Any attempt to remove the tag and abscond would result in any right to bail or to remain in the UK being automatically withdrawn.
Asked about the prospect of tagging, Ms Braverman told Sky News: ‘We’ve just enacted a landmark piece of legislation in the form of our Illegal Migration Act. That empowers us to detain those who arrive here illegally and thereafter to swiftly remove them to a safe country like Rwanda.’
She said: ‘We need to exercise a level of control of people if we’re to remove them from the United Kingdom.
‘We are considering a range of options. We have a couple of thousand detention places in our existing removal capacity. We will be working intensively to increase that but it’s clear we’re exploring a range of options, all options, to ensure that we have that level of control over people so that they can flow through our systems swiftly to enable us to thereafter remove them from the United Kingdom.’
Ms Braverman said stopping Channel boat crossings is ‘what the British people expect of us’.
‘It’s what I passionately believe is the right thing to do. And we are making progress. We’ve passed our landmark legislation,’ she said.
‘But let’s also be clear about what we’re up against. We’re up against a range of forces which are intent on stopping us – whether it’s immigration lawyers, charities, NGOs, many of whom have very close links with the Labour Party, operating night and day to stop us from delivering this pledge through legal challenges in the courts.’
One source told the Telegraph: ‘Tagging is being discussed as an option.’
Another source said tagging could also free-up immigration detention centres to be used for prisoners to alleviate chronic overcrowding in jails which are close to their capacity.
They were quoted as saying: ‘They are looking at all of these options. Given the state of prison capacity, that could reach breaking point and the Government knows that.’
The approach has been dubbed ‘punitive’ and ‘draconian’ by left-wing campaigners, who argue that those fleeing to Britain for safety are being treated like ‘criminals’.
New Home Office figures released last week revealed Britain’s asylum backlog topped 175,000 for the first time after 78,768 claims were made in the year to June.
A total of 175,457 people were waiting for an initial decision on an asylum application in the UK at the end of June 2023, up 44 per cent from 122,213 at the end of June 2022. This was the highest figure since current records began in 2010.