The European Union’s (EU’s) open borders policy has invited European street gangs into the heart of Britain, where they act with impunity safe in the knowledge that they can just as easily return home if threatened with the force of the law.
That’s the opinion of Anthony Stansfeld, Thames Valley’s Police and Crime Commissioner, who has insisted that we must leave the EU and end the free movement agreement if we are to have any hope of controlling the rise of criminal gang activity within Britain and tackle Islamist terrorism.
Writing for The Telegraph, he says that the safety of the British public can only be guaranteed if we leave the EU, thereby regaining control of our borders, bringing immigration under control and reinvesting the money saved back into British public services including policing.
That is because while general crime rates are falling, “fraud and cyber crime, radical Islamic terrorism and serious organised crime” are all on the rise.
“Eastern European criminals have spotted an opportunity,” he says.
“The pickings are far easier in a rich liberal country such as ours, than in their own poorer countries; our legal system is much kinder should they be caught; and their ability to leave the country while on bail makes the threat of imprisonment at best weak.
“As a result, much more serious organised crime, controlled from abroad, is operating in to the UK. And as the EU increases its membership, with more Eastern European nations joining, such as Albania, the situation can only worsen. Already, the increase in murder rates and serious violence across the UK is now beginning to reflect this.”
Mr Stansfeld predicts that attempts to contain the threat will call for the deployment of more armed officers on British streets, “as a direct consequence of our inability to control our borders”.
At the same time, he says, high levels of immigration brought about by open borders is putting increased strain on all areas of public service, including schools, hospitals, housing, transport, and the criminal justice system – which “inevitably impinges on the police, the service of last resort.”
Earlier this week the Office for National Statistics admitted that it had underestimated European immigration to Britain by a staggering 1.5 million people. Yet at the same time, police funding, in line with many services, has been cut.
“To keep up with the population increase in the Thames Valley alone we should have been increasing our numbers by at least 200 a year. Yet we have, in real terms, cut £82 million a year from the police budget. That would pay for more than 1,000 extra officers.
“There is much talk at government level about what is being done, but in reality little is; the EU prevents us from implementing the most elementary precautions that need to be put in place.”
Last July it emerged that eastern European gangs were flying into the UK on “crime spree holidays”, arriving in the UK on budget airline flights, committing “volume crimes” such as pickpocketing and flying out again to avoid detection.
Brian Donald, Europol’s chief of staff said at the time: “We have seen this phenomenon of mobile organised crime groups who are nationals of one country but operate across multiple countries.
“They just do volume crime – they steal wallets, cars, break into houses, you name it and then they are plucked out of the area they’re in and sent home, before they are shipped out to another country.
“There is whole infrastructure behind them that takes the stolen property and moves it on so they are free to fly in and out and just do the crime. So you have a crime wave in one area, it lasts two weeks and then it’s gone.”