Britain's top black police officer: 'We are struggling to cope with immigrant crime wave'
By STEPHEN WRIGHT
27th January 2008
Chief Constable Mike Fuller: Translation services are putting 'pressure' on his resources
Britain's highest ranking black policeman has warned the Home Secretary his force is struggling to cope with an immigrant crimewave.
Kent chief constable Mike Fuller told Jacqui Smith “migration surges” had contributed to an increase of more than a third in violent crime over five years to 7,800 incidents in 2007.
In a leaked letter, he said the Government's failure to increase his budget to match the population rise will have a “negative impact on performance”.
He says migration accounts for 78 per cent of Kent's population growth and warned of the soaring cost of translation services, up by a third in three years.
Mr Fuller, whose force polices ferry ports and the Channel tunnel, says he will need an extra 560 constables if the immigrant population continues to surge. He says Kent's population is expected to rise from 1.6million now to 1.9million by 2029 – mostly from immigration.
In a private letter to Miss Smith on October 22 last year, he states: “I feel it is essential that I set out the impact population growth is having in Kent and the pressure it is placing on finite resources.”
He says the total extra cost to the force is 34million over the past three years and accuses the Home Office of not increasing his budget by enough to cope.
“There is a danger that if the future funding regime fails to respond to dynamic changes in migration the extra demand this generates will impact negatively on performance,” he said.
Migration surge: Mike Fuller says an influx of migrants is leading to an increase in crime in Kent (file picture)
Mrs Spence said more officers were needed to deal with an increase in traffic offences and crimes such as prostitution.
She, too, accused the Government of failing to provide adequate resources to deal with the new problem.
She explained the effect of immigration had seeped into all areas of policing. Migrants got into difficulties because they were unfamiliar with traffic laws.
Police had also noticed a growth in prostitution, driven by the influx of large numbers of single men.
As in Kent, large sums of money are also being spent on interpreters to interview suspects, witnesses and victims of crime in Cambridgeshire.
When asked last month about Kent, ministers claimed no assessment had been made of the impact of immigration on costs.
In a parliamentary answer, Tony NcNulty, the police minister, said: “Kent police do not separately identify costs incurred as a result of immigration.”
Damian Green, Conservative immigration spokesman, said ministers had misled the public: “This is clear evidence that all over the country public services have found it impossible to cope with the unplanned and rapid rise in population over the past few years.
“This is another largely rural police force which is having to spend money on translation services and cope with extra pressures caused by fast rates of immigration. Without properly controlled immigration this problem will only get worse.”
Keith Vaz, Labour chairman of the home affairs committee, said: “Mike Fuller raises very important issues concerned with the changing needs of local areas as a result of migration.
“It is important that in looking at funding formulas the government understands that there are pressures that need to be addressed. We will be looking at this issues when we launch our forthcoming inquiry into policing.”
Last year the Audit Commission warned Eastern European immigration had brought social disorder and crime.
Councils in areas where migrants have settled have also complained of being left out of pocket because of Government underestimates.