yourcanterbury.com, February 22, 2009
A police booklet for immigrants that makes Kentish people appear “racist, homophobic and xenophobic” has been blasted by a Conservative MP.
Gravesham representative Adam Holloway says the publication, A practical guide to the law for your safety and information, gives foreigners the wrong impression because it focuses too much on how to report racial abuse.
He also criticises the lack of any mention of the 999 service within the booklet, which instead promotes a hotline for immigrants who have become victims of crime due to their ethnic, religious or sexual background.
Mr Holloway said: “I find it extraordinary that Kent Police can produce a booklet that in a sense says ‘Welcome to Kent. We are racist, homophobic, xenophobic, ageist and do not value you if you are disabled or gay, and here’s a booklet telling you how to make a complaint against us’.
“What sort of message are we giving people? The police have their priorities wrong and have totally given in to this politically-correct and damaging claptrap.”
The former investigative journalist, who once produced a documentary on asylum-seekers, praised the use in the booklet of illustrations of various crimes but questioned why the only telephone number promoted was the Kent Racial Incident Reporting Telephone Line.
He said: “Immigrants come here for a variety of reasons but mainly for work. They are our guests and have to abide by British law
“By all means produce a guide to the laws of our country but when they read page one of the English version of this book, they may think they are entering a rather disgusting society, which Kent certainly isn’t.”
Last week Kent Police received widespread criticism for launching a gay essay-writing contest for young children as part of a month-long celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history.
Mr Holloway said it was about time PCs concerned themselves less with being PC and returned to what they did best–fighting crime: “I fear Kent Police is rather overdoing things. Their job is to protect the public and they need to calm down a bit on this sort of thing.
“They need to remember what their job is.”
Deputy Chief Constable Adrian Leppard said the booklet replicated those issued by forces across the country and was given to people who had already contacted the police.
He added: “We always welcome feedback.
“We continually review our services so we can continue to police Kent in the most effective and resourceful way.
“Some of the feedback we have received welcomes the non-emergency telephone numbers, as people may want to report crimes that are not life-threatening.
“Kent Police treats everyone with fairness and equality. We do not tolerate any form of hate crime.
“The booklet raises awareness that hate crime is taken seriously by police and provides information about how to report it, helping ensure this type of crime is not under-reported.”