The 1990 Trust condemns in the strongest terms the comments made on Sunday, May 18th by Chris Fox, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO). We are particularly disturbed with his inflammatory comments about a ‘tidal wave’ of asylum seekers and immigrants at a time when the government is announcing a substantial drop in asylum seekers to the UK. Of the 110,000 applicants per year only 11,000 are accepted. How does that amount to a tidal wave when the population of Britain is 60 million? In addition what evidence does he have that more immigrants and Asylum Seekers equate to more crime? We call on him to prove that there is disproportionately more prostitution, drug misuse and crime in Asylum Seeker and immigrant communities.
Terms such as ‘tidal wave’ and ‘overwhelm’ have the exact same racist implications as ‘swamped’ and foster the climate of hate and moral panic that has led to a growing intolerance among the British public. According to a recent survey, the majority of British citizens (55%) believe that certain ethnic groups are more likely to commit a crime than others, and an overwhelming number (78%), without any evidence to back it up, believe that an influx of asylum seekers will lead to higher crime rates in Britain.
This kind of language also feeds violent recriminations against Asylum Seekers and a surge in support for the British National Party. For the first time, the BNP were able to win a seat in Broxbourne on the asylum issue although not a single Asylum Seeker resides in the whole town. If their presence causes more tensions, as Fox was reported saying, surely it is due to the racism that Asylum Seekers and immigrants face.
Most of the Asylum Seekers coming to the UK are driven by war such as the ones the UK government launched in Afghanistan and Iraq. It is a fact, in the last decade most asylum seekers entering EU countries come from Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Iran, Democratic Republic of the Congo and other nations that are in hostilities or are major violators of human rights. And the UK is far from being first on the destination list of those fleeing persecution and armed conflict. The UK is 34th in the world in terms of the relative number of refugees it supports.
Fox also fails to address the crimes, including violence, committed against Asylum Seekers.
In 2003, the Monitoring Group reports that they received more than 1,700 complaints regarding harassment and other forms of assault. The organisation received no fewer than 130 calls every month from Asylum Seekers and refugees regarding attacks.
Nor does Fox note that Asylum Seekers, refugees and migrants also contribute to UK society. As do most British citizens, they work, pay taxes, buy groceries, go to entertainment events and seek to build a better life for themselves and their community.
To register your disagreement with the position taken by Fox, ACPO can be contacted at the following:
President at 25, Victoria Street,
London SW1H 0EX
telephone 020 7227 3434
fax 020 7227 3400