Police struggle to cope with immigrant influx
By ADAM LAZZARI POLICE in Cambridgeshire need more staff and resources to cope with problems caused by a sudden influx in migration - according to the force s chief constable. Julie Spence believes a dramatic change in the make-up of the population in the
By ADAM LAZZARI
POLICE in Cambridgeshire need more staff and resources to cope with problems caused by a sudden influx in migration - according to the force's chief constable.
Julie Spence believes a dramatic change in the make-up of the population in the county, particularly in East Cambridgeshire and the Fens, is being ignored by the Government.
Thousands of workers from Eastern Europe come to region every year to undertake agricultural work.
Mrs Spence said: "We now deal with people from many different countries, speaking more than 90 different languages. While the economic benefits of growth are clear we need to maintain the basic public services infrastructure which means increasing the number of officers we have."
Mrs Spence has strongly criticised the Government for failing to recognise the pressures that her officers are under and invited home secretary Jacqui Smith to visit the county to see the scale of change and discuss funding.
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She will present Government ministers with a detailed report arguing that urgent change is needed in the way grants are calculated and ask them to address a £15 million shortfall in funding.
The report also highlights that:
* Migration will have a greater impact on the population than natural changes - with new communities accounting for 73 per cent of growth in Cambridgeshire.
* By 2016 there will be 25,200 more people in the county as a result of 'natural' growth and people moving from within the UK to Cambridgeshire. A further 69,000 people are predicted to move to the county by 2016 as a result of migration, mainly from Europe
* Overall, Cambridgeshire's official population will jump by 12.5 per cent by 2016 - whereas across the UK it will be 2031 before a 12 per cent increase is experienced.
Mrs Spence said: "We've been short-changed for a number of years, losing money as the population continues to grow. The profile of the county has changed dramatically and this simply isn't taken into account when Government allocates funding.
"We've been doing more for less as effectively as we possibly can. But it really is unfair when we see some areas receiving much more central government funding while it is left to local taxpayers in Cambridgeshire to make up the shortfall.
"We could achieve much more if the discredited funding formula was removed and we received additional funding for around 25 officers a year between now and 2016, when the official population will jump by more than 12 per cent.
"I'm joining the chairman of the police authority in asking ministers and officials responsible for funding to acknowledge the true and constantly changing population position in Cambridgeshire. We're urging them to provide us with more Government coppers for coppers.