Spence sparks huge debate
PUBLISHED: 16:28 28 September 2007 | UPDATED: 23:04 28 May 2010
CHIEF Constable Julie Spence provoked a storm of controversy over her call for more money to fund the county s police force in the wake of mass migration. Knife crime and drink driving were some of the offences concerning the chief constable, and she want
CHIEF Constable Julie Spence provoked a storm of controversy over her call for more money to fund the county's police force in the wake of mass migration.
Knife crime and drink driving were some of the offences concerning the chief constable, and she wants more Government money made available to her force.
Her plea attracted regional and national outcry which strikes right at the heart of the Fens.
From the hundreds of stories and comments printed or broadcast, news editor JOHN ELWORTHY extracted this selection.
"Some perspective is necessary. Migrants tend to be young and healthy, which means they are not often heavy users of public services.
"As for policing, the wave of arrivals has come alongside a decline in overall crime in Cambridgeshire. Certain offences have been an issue, although the effect may prove to be temporary: the spike in drink-driving, for instance, has already fallen two-thirds since 2004.
"This suggests that, once they face local law, migrants adjust their behaviour accordingly - extract from Guardian leader
"I live in Cambridgeshire and it would be nice if your leader writers got off their backsides and did a bit of real research before making such ridiculous statements like the one above. My local doctor's surgery is now full of EE immigrants, often accompanied by their interpreters.
"Many of the Eastern Europeans I see on the street are heavy smokers and drinkers and hardly the paragons of healthy living.
Julie Spence has done all of us a big favour by raising an issue that New Labour has wanted to sweep under the carpet." Cambridgeshire reader responding to leader in Guardian.
"Miss Spence's intervention shows that whatever the economic benefits - and they are undoubtedly considerable - there is a flipside of heavy costs to the taxpayer as well. In her case, she is pleading for extra resources to keep the peace. But her complaint could as well be made by doctors, head teachers, social workers and other public servants struggling to cope with the biggest surge of immigration in our history." Extract from Daily Telegraph leader
"The benefits of uncontrolled
immigration go almost entirely to
employers who get cheap labour
with few demands, regarding health
and safety, and a preparedness to
live in overcrowded and unsanitary
conditions." Reader's comment
'It isn't a question of race, but culture, and ours is being fundamentally altered by such large-scale, and largely uncontrolled, immigration. But who cares what I think, I only live here.'
Posted by 'Disillusioned citizen'
"I have long advocated getting rid of Chief Constables and replacing them with publicly elected Sheriffs every four years. If this were ever to happen. Chief Constable Spence would certainly get my vote, and I suspect many others too.
Good luck Julie.'
Posted by Anil Chatterjee
'If immigration is so vital to our economy, how come other countries such as Japan seem to get by quite well without?'
Posted by Iain on Telegraph website
'There is NO justification for this level of immigration. Even if it made us all richer, could that offset the social, cultural and environmental damage we are suffering.'
Posted by Richard
'Poles seem to have become convenient as scapegoats because they are white, Christian and relatively easy to assimilate. Now if they were visibly ethnic and Muslim.... I know they like their drink, but so then do British people on stag nights in Prague and on holidays in the Med.'
Posted by Mark
'I detect a degree of hypocrisy in the Chief Constable's views. Are we saying that there are no problems with the tens of thousands of Iraqis, Somalis and other mainly non-white immigrants that have flooded through our porous borders?
It seems to me it's easier to target Poles, Latvians, Lithuanians etc. as dodgy immigrants because they are mainly white.
Posted by 'another disgusted Englishman'
'It is about time that the debate over rising crime levels in "broken Britain" was broadened to include the possibility that, besides the decline in national morals since Enid Blyton's day, we have also imported a few crime problems from elsewhere.
That our murder rate has doubled since the 1950s, for example, is not entirely unconnected with our having absorbed a great number of migrants from cultures much more violent than our own.
Lithuania, for example, one of whose citizens was recently murdered by a compatriot in Wisbech, has a murder rate seven times our own: 0.103 per 1,000 population per year compared with 0.014 per 1,000.'
Columnist Ross Clark in The Times.
'Previously it was councils - now it's the police - who've raised the sensitive issue of how immigration is changing public life in Britain . They won't be the last public service bodies to focus national attention on the subject." Channel 4 News
'If the economic benefits for the country are great, why are the services not benefiting from the extra revenue generated by these people ie taxes, council tax?'
'I am getting confused. How do Julie Spence's comments equate with already published facts that overall crime in Cambridgeshire has actually dropped quite considerably (some 20%). Does this mean the 'migrants' are more law abiding than other members of the community!' David Dee
'Ooh ... brave lady to put her head above the parapet.'
'It really is time to stop blaming migrants. It is a matter of dealing with the problem and putting measures in place to cope. In the real world, this is called 'management'.
Stop blaming, and get on with the job of policing - the government got it wrong, not the migrants.'
Philip, Warsaw, Poland
'Cambridgeshire Police's report is grim reading. It points to some of the toughest challenges posed by an age of unprecedented migration - movement that on the one hand worries people but on the other plays a crucial part in the success of local economies.'
Dominic Casciani, Home affairs reporter, BBC News
'Cambridgeshire Police no longer believes it is a sleepy rural force patrolling quaint country byways. Like many areas touched by the new migration, its leaders see the county as a bustling cosmopolitan centre of change - but it's change they think needs more Government help.'
THIS IS LONDON
'One of the pillars of our society is access to justice for all. OF COURSE we must provide proper translation services for any non-English speaker accused of an offence in this country - at whatever price. To fail to do so would be to invite more and more miscarriages of justice.'
Terry Roll, London
"Most officers in Europe speak more than one language; it's time the police force followed suit."
"Migrant workers are contributing to the community through both cultural and economic means. They are contributing by working in diverse areas, which has a positive impact on the community."
Humberside Chief Constable Tim Hollis
"Our problem is the number of individuals who are born and bred in North East Lincolnshire who continue to reoffend.
Det Supt Mark Smith, of Grimsby
'We consider the impact of people from other countries coming to live and work in Lincolnshire to be a positive one.'
Lincolnshire's Assistant Chief Constable Peter Davies
'On Spence's patch, MP Malcolm Moss announced his investigation in 2005 into concerns that Wisbech was becoming 'a ghetto town'. This inquiry (result unknown) appeared to be based on one resident's allegation that migrant workers crammed into rented houses were failing to meet Ideal Home benchmarks by neglecting their front gardens and hanging sheets instead of curtains at their windows.
Migrant-bashing is not society's final taboo. It is its last, and cherished, public prejudice. Far from never daring to speak its name, it is a pub and media staple on a par with the Blue Peter cat and Jose Mourinho's Chelsea pay-off. Spence and Moss give succour, however unwittingly, to nationalists and xenophobes, as well as nurturing citizens' groundless fears that Britain is being swamped by lawless migrants.'
Mary Riddell, Observer columnist