16:13 Wednesday 01 January 2014

Crime tsar to meet home secretary over migrant concerns


STAFFORDSHIRE crime chief Matthew Ellis is to hold talks with the Home Secretary over fears about more Eastern Europeans arriving in the county.

Speaking ahead of new laws allowing more Romanians and Bulgarians to live and work in the UK, the police and crime commissioner said he was concerned about a difference in culture and the impact it has on the area.

His fears have been heightened by new figures revealing that Romanians top the list of foreign nationals arrested by Staffordshire Police, with 981 people held from April 2010 to September 2013.

Mr Ellis, who is in the process of arranging a meeting with Theresa May, said: “Staffordshire is seeing a significant rise in the number of people who are not only being placed here by the state as asylum seekers, but also foreign nationals moving here.

“It’s clear that their cultures are slightly different and their expectations are slightly different, therefore I am asking the chief constable whether he needs more resources to get ahead on this and make sure this is dealt with right. I also plan to talk to the Home Secretary on this.”

The UK imposed movement restrictions on Romanians and Bulgarians when the two countries joined the EU in 2007, but these have now been lifted, and, from today, people from these countries have the same freedom of movement as those from other countries within the union.

Despite the concerns which have been raised, a Burton equality campaigner urged Mr Ellis and other to avoid a ‘knee-jerk’ reaction.

Julian Mott, chairman of East Staffordshire Rights and Equality Council (ESREC), said: “At this stage, we have no idea how many people will be wanting to come, and it’s important to wait and see what happens. I don’t think it should be used as an excuse for some actions.”

He added that ESREC services were available for people who needed help.

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