Jacqui Smith promises 'migrant crime' fund
By Christopher Hope
Home Affairs Correspondent
Last Updated: 3:25am BST 18/04/2008
Jacqui Smith has promised more money for a “migrant crime” fund to help police forces meet the extra costs of dealing with criminals from eastern Europe.
Her announcement came at a meeting with senior police officers who had complained that dealing with crime caused by the influx of immigrants was placing a serious burden on their forces.
The Association of Chief Police Officers' study said that 14 million was spent on translators in the Metropolitan Police area alone last year and that migrant crime had diverted cash away from other crime-fighting duties.
The news comes after research by The Daily Telegraph found that crimes committed by eastern European immigrants have increased by up to 800 per cent in some parts of the country.
The report also found that police were having to tackle different sorts of crime committed by migrants.
It said: “EU accession migrants are continuing to present challenges across a range of policing activity including minor public order, increased violence and drink-related offences. Notable changes in crime patterns, including extortion, 'dipping' [pick-pocketing], human trafficking and a growing sex trade.”
Grahame Maxwell, the Chief Constable of North Yorkshire Police and the Acpo lead on migration, said after the meeting: “[Mrs Smith] agreed to consider whether the impact of migration was something that needed to be reflected in future police funding settlements.”
Julie Spence, the Chief Constable of Cambridgeshire who has been outspoken about the effect of mass migration from Eastern Europe, said forces which experience a significant drain on their funds will be able to apply for emergency cash from 2009.
“The Home Secretary is looking to set up a migration transition fund to look at how we deal with a sudden surge of immigration in an area,” she said.
“We do not yet know what that fund is going to look like.
“But the Home Office wants to consult us on how they distribute money to mitigate the impacts.”
A Home Office spokesman said the meeting was “constructive”.
He added: “The meeting covered issues such as building closer co-operation between the police and the UK Border Agency, the contribution of Neighbourhood Policing, enhanced data sharing and more flexible resourcing.”