UTTOXETER’S police boss is to meet with the Home Secretary about his immigration fears – a week after housing chiefs confirmed Uttoxeter ‘can cope’ with a potential influx of Eastern Europeans in 2014.
On New Year’s Day, EU member state movement restrictions were lifted to allow Romanians and Bulgarians to take up residency in the UK.
It is feared this will lead to an enormous influx of Eastern Europeans across the UK and public services will be rendered unable to cope.
Last week, East Staffordshire Borough Council leader Richard Grosvenor told the Advertiser his authority’s 20-year housing plan had accounted for huge predicted growth in the borough’s population.
But, after new figures were released showing Romanians were the most-arrested foreign nationals in Staffordshire, police and crime commissioner Matthew Ellis has called for more resources to deal with the expected influx.
He is ‘in the process’ of arranging a meeting with home secretary Theresa May to discuss the issue.
Mr Ellis 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.”
Recent statistics show 981 Romanians were arrested by Staffordshire Police between April 2010 and September 2013.
However, East Staffordshire Rights and Equality Council (ESREC) chairman Julian Mott has called for calm until it becomes clear how many migrants will make their way to the borough.
He 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.”
Councillor Grosvenor last week told the Advertiser he saw several positives in the prospect of mass immigration into Uttoxeter.
He said: “It’s really important that we have a constructive, serious debate about our immigration policy.
“It’s important that we can do that without people making accusations of racism.
“The debate is nothing to do with prejudice. It’s about fairness and making sure decisions are taken in the best interests of our country.
“Having said that, I’ve seen numerous examples of immigrants coming into our borough and making a really positive impact.
“I know some farmers in Uttoxeter who have hired Polish workers on their farms and have spoken very highly of the work they’ve done.
“From setting on the Local Enterprise Partnership, I know businesses in Uttoxeter are concerned about how to ensure workers they take on have the right skills.”