Posted on April 11, 2011

Concerns Over Foreign Crime Wave

Tom Whitehead, Telegraph (London), April 5, 2011

Police arrested more than 91,000 foreigners suspected of crimes last year–the equivalent of 250 a day–compared with less than 52,000 in 2008.

Rural areas, which have seen large influxes of new migrants, have been particularly hit with one force seeing arrests soar from just 27 to almost 5,000 since 2006.

The figures, released under Freedom of Information, have fuelled concerns over how Labour’s immigration policies have impacted on communities and services.

And the true figure could be twice as high as less than half of police forces responded.

Chief constables have already warned that a rising number of foreign criminals has put huge pressure on resources such as officer time and translation costs.

One rank and file leader last night revealed it can take an officer up to six hours just to issue a caution to a foreign offender who does not speak English.

The growing trend comes as the police service faces cuts of up to 20 per cent over the next four years with thousands of officers likely to be lost.

One MP last night described the figures as “deeply concerning” while police chiefs warned a “growing number of new communities” has made crime patterns more complex.

Information from 19 police forces show that in 2010 some 91,234 non-British nationals were arrested for crimes including murder, burglary and sexual offences.

That was a 76 per cent increased on the 51,899 arrested in 2008.

The rise coincides with a sharp increase in the number of migrants coming to live in the UK since the European Union expanded in 2004 to take in eight former Eastern Bloc countries including Poland.

Arrests of foreigners made by the Metropolitan Police increased from 24,264 in 2008 to 58,870 in 2010–up by 143 per cent.

Rural areas also showed huge increases notably Cambridgeshire Constabulary which made 27 arrests in 2006 and 4,803 in 2010.

Durham Constabulary suffered a 629 per cent rise from 65 in 2006 to 474 in 2010 and Humberside Police increased by 138 per cent up from 865 to 2,055.

Arrests by Kent Police increased by 283 per cent from 1,075 to 4,119, while Surrey Police saw a rise from 1,959 to 2,079–up six per cent.

If the trend was repeated across all 52 forces in the UK it is estimated that over 750,000 foreign crooks have been arrested since 2006.

Hugh Robertson, Conservative MP for Mid Kent said: “These figures are deeply concerning for anybody who lives in Kent and place a very unwelcome extra burden on our police forces.”

Nick Cowan, crime researcher for think tank Civitas, added: “To some extent with an open labour market you are going to end up with some undesirables which is a shame.”

Pete Smyth, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, said migration has had a “huge” impact on police resources.

He said: “It is a problem when you get someone in who can’t speak English and we wait hours for an expensive interpreter to hear their side of the story.

“Even in trivial cases where you might be giving just a caution officers could be off the street for five or six hours–which is a massive expense.”

A spokeswoman for Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) said the high amount of foreign crimes has added pressure to already “stretched” police resources.

She said: “The growing number of new communities has certainly brought greater complexity to the pattern of crime and have contributed to already stretched resources.

“As police, we have to adapt all the time to deal with new and emerging problems.

“However we pride ourselves on our strong relationships within our local communities and the way we deal with the issues that emerge.”

Julian Huppert, MP for Cambridge, added: “Cambridge is experiencing rapid growth and we need Government investment if we are to manage that growth effectively.”

Cllr Geoffrey Heathcock, a former JP in Cambridge, added: “The volume of violent crime linked to foreign nationals is deeply troubling and is another factor in the whole story of why the county, with a growing population pressure, needs a significantly better deal from the Government.”