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Subject:

Migrant workers and the Police

From:

"Hookings, Glynn" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

South West Skills and Learning Intelligence Module <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 13 Jan 2006 17:18:37 -0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (96 lines)

I represent the Police from a Community Safety perspective and work
closely with LA's (West and North Wiltshire). The below  comments tend
to present a negative image, however there are some major opportunities
for us (Police) to develop more inclusive Policies strategies and
improve our service delivery. These will not be easy and I value the
opportunity to share our experiences with others.

Over the last 12 months we have had a number of critical incidents
involving migrant workers both as alleged offenders and victims. There
has a significant increase in the number of arrests especially from
migrant Polish community (males 20-30), the offences in the main relate
to assaults and public disorder which have been fuelled by alcohol. Most
weekends there will be incidents involving young Polish males these
include a number of street robberies whereby they have been drunk and
then become a victim.

Some of the trigger factors especially in relation to incidents on or
near licensed  relate to communication problems. To assist we have
issued door staff with translation cards covering common phrases to try
and assist. These have helped but in a volatile situation are not always
practicable.

We have a local community consultative group and via this are looking to
'recruit' community volunteers who would be willing to be called out to
operational incidents to act as cultural translators for incidents where
communication is an issue. These will be separate from 'qualified'
translators who are used for interviews etc. We do have a shortage of
registered 'qualified' translators who can act in official capacities,
none are local. Our closest is Bristol with majority in London, this
poses significant difficulties and delays in investigating offences. 

We are currently investigating a number of serious assaults committed by
migrant workers on migrant workers, these incidents appear to be linked
to possible extortion within the community. These we believe relate to
accommodation. We have a significant migrant population but do not know
where they are living. Increasingly we are getting reports of multi
occupancy premises with people purportedly living in tents, sheds etc
and overcrowding, as you can imagine these are not registered landlords.
We are sharing information with our LA's and visa versa. There are
concerns for health, safety and welfare of people living under such
conditions.

We have also started to receive isolated reports of prostitution linked
to migrant workers, we are unsure if these are prostitutes from out of
the area moving in or possible 'sex trade' issues within the community.

In WW we have an established Polish community that stems from the
1940's, this community are in some cases are very anti the migrant
Polish community and there is increasing friction between the two.
Trowbridge is twinned with a town in Poland and therefore an
'attractive' town for some due to these links.

The comments from Jonathan re his experience with Connexions we are
aware of however there are some grumblings from the  younger community
that they perceive they are disadvantaged as 'others' are taking their
jobs (namely those in food processing industry in WW). At this time we
have no indication that this has spilled over into attacks (verbal or
physical) but it is an area we are monitoring via community contacts.

The Polish migrant community appear to be displacing other migrant
workers, for example we have seen a drop in the number of Portuguese
workers. This is a concerning trend and one that could reduce
opportunities within communities for increased diversity.

In an effort to overcome some of the above issues we are looking to
produce an information booklet for migrant workers that covers such
areas as how to buy and use a car (we have instances of 'pool cars'
being used - no insurance/MOT/tax), housing issues and advice, fire
safety, law surrounding carrying of weapons (we see a number of those
arrested from migrant population carrying knives), information about the
area, how to report crime etc. We would then link into recruiting
agencies, employers, town councils to issue these. We are also looking
to hold a meeting involving private, public and voluntary sector to
discuss how best we move forward and support the migrant worker
community.

These communities provide cultural diversity and also business
opportunities (a shop selling Polish food has just opened). At present
'we' (Police) are still reactive, the aim is to move to a more proactive
position and build early links with the community. We are looking at how
best we break down barriers and develop a greater understanding of how
the relationship is between the Police and the public in Poland for
example, if we have an understanding of this it can help us to develop
longer term strategies.

Glynn Hookings
Inspector Community Safety
Divisional HQ
Hampton Park West
Melksham
SN12 6QQ
01249 449636


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