You can tell just how much the Grauniad's report yesterday on how migrants have not brought a crime wave with them and how, unsurprisingly, they're not committing more offences than anyone else overall has wound up the Daily Mail and Express by the vehemence of their response today. Along with the recent immigration report by the Lords committee that, despite tabloid coverage, concluded migrants had on the whole not significantly benefited or been detrimental to the country, the crime angle is the one sure fire hit which they can rely upon to really fire minds against the current immigration policy, with their impact on public services and negligible use of benefits following closely behind. For it to blown apart just as they appeared to be getting the upper hand could not possibly be tolerated.
Hence why both have come out all guns blazing. The Express leads with "IMMIGRANTS BRING MORE CRIME", which is patently untrue as the report has already made clear, but more interesting is the Mail's account of how the Guardian report supposedly came to fruition.
The liberal Left had been right throughout, and the influx of one million eastern European migrants in less than four years - contrary to the claims of some chief constables - had created little pressure or trouble.
The source was good. A report by the Association of Chief Police Officers, prepared for the Home Secretary, had reached this firm conclusion.
Except it had done no such thing. The report itself, leaked in full yesterday, bore no relation to the BBC or Guardian headline claims.
"EU accession migrants are continuing to present challenges across a range of policing activity," reads one paragraph.
There are "notable changes in crime patterns, including extortion, 'dipping' [pick-pocketing], human trafficking and a growing sex trade", warns another.
Most curious of all, there is not a single mention of a migrant crimewave, let alone about one being "unfounded" or a "myth".
Did it really bear no relation to the BBC or Guardian headline claims? Let's go back to the Guardian's report:
The report says: "While overall this country has accommodated this huge influx with little rise in community tension, in some areas sheer numbers, resentment and misunderstanding, have created problems." It adds that the immigration from eastern Europe has been different to previous arrivals, because it happened much more quickly. The report says that new migrants may be more likely to commit certain types of offences. Polish people are linked to drink-driving, and problems have arisen in central London with some Romanian children being used by adults to commit petty robberies.
There are also problems with people trafficking and exploitation, but while these may be more likely in some migrant communities, other types of offences are less likely to occur.
Well that's strange then, isn't it? The Guardian report did mention nearly all those things that the Mail now reports, just in a different fashion, considering that the Guardian didn't have access to the full document which the Mail and Express now apparently have. The easy way to sort the whole mess out would be if us lower mortals could also get access to the full report, but it seems for now that it'll remain confidential. The Grauniad has also expanded slightly on its original points in today's follow-up:
Peter Fahy, chief constable of Cheshire, who co-authored the study, said: "Migration has had a significant impact on UK communities in past years, but while this has led to new demands made on the police service, the evidence does not support theories of a large-scale crime wave generated through migration.
"In fact, crime has been falling across the country over the past year. Cultural differences such as attitudes to offences like drink-driving may exist, but can be exaggerated.
"The influx of eastern Europeans has created pressures on forces in some areas, including local rumour and misunderstandings fuelling tensions which police have had to be proactive in resolving, and leading to significant increases in spending on interpreters, which can also make investigations more complex."
Back to James Slack's analysis of the original Grauniad report:
Even if accurate, the coverage would have begged several questions, not least who had claimed there was a migrant crimewave in the first place?
Hmm. I wonder who could have done such a thing?
The influx of Romanian migrants has led to an explosion in crime in this country, it emerged last night.
As recent members of the EU, Romanians have had free access to Britain only since January 1.
Yet in the first six months of this year, police say, they were responsible for 1,080 offences.
This is from the Daily Mail, 19th of September last year, written by.... James Slack. The Daily Express also claimed in January that "migrants send our crime rate soaring", which as Fahy points out, they haven't, as crime overall has dropped by 9%.
Cambridgeshire Chief Constable Julie Spence - whose intervention last year was the report's spur - had warned of pressure on her local force, and problems with sex trafficking and eastern Europeans drink driving.
Neither she nor any other respected critic had suggested the new arrivals were committing disproportionate levels of overall crime (indeed, it is widely accepted - not least by the Daily Mail - that the vast majority are here to work hard).
What is true is that the migrants are as likely to be arrested by the police as a British citizen, but - when this happens - consume more resources by virtue of speaking little or no English.
Gosh, could that "the Daily Mail line" be anything to do with the Federation of Poles complaining about the Mail's coverage? Obviously Slack isn't including himself or the Express as respected critics, as both, as we have seen, claimed that new arrivals were committing disproportionate levels of overall crime, the Express claiming that crime by migrants had soared by 530%.
Rather than debunking the Guardian's original article, all Slack is doing is actually confirming that its story was accurate. He agrees that migrants are no more likely to commit crimes than the average British citizen, which was the Guardian report's main point. Where the Grauniad erred slightly was that it didn't put enough emphasis in how when arrested migrants obviously use more police resources, and translation costs therefore come into the equation, something that the report makes clear, but it can hardly be blamed for not doing so when it didn't have the full report in front of them, especially considering that their source was Peter Fahy, the co-author of the report, who should himself have communicated that robustly. In any case, today's follow-up contains a lengthy quote dealing with just that from Mail's favourite police officer, Cambridgeshire's Julie Spence. Its fears that the Guardian's report would affect the extra money the police were asking for from Jacqui Smith today when they met her were also unfounded; new funding was promised.
For the Daily Mail and especially James Slack to be moaning about the Guardian slightly misreporting an important study is the height of chutzpah. Such has been Slack's record in distorting figures and baiting and switching that you can't take a single article he's ever written seriously. This blog and others have on numerous occasions recorded the Mail and Express scaremongering, churning and in some cases downright lying about immigration. It ought to come down to trust; do you regard the Mail or Express to tell the truth or be more accurate about immigration, knowing their track record, or do you overall regard the Guardian, or any "broadsheet", or the BBC to do so? Opinion polls on trust on individuals and organisations in public life show that it's overwhelmingly the latter.
Speaking of lying, to bring it back to the Express, here's how it justifies its "IMMIGRANTS BRING MORE CRIME" super splash:
IMMIGRATION from Eastern Europe has led to a huge surge in crime, police chiefs will tell the Home Secretary today.
Oh, so the report doesn't say that then, there's no evidence whatsoever to back it up, but it must be true because "police chiefs" will say so. Then there's the blatant exaggerations of its content:
The damning report will be presented to Jacqui Smith in a key meeting, at which many chief constables will demand extra funds to cope with the effects of Labour’s open-door policy.
In an alarming message, the report warns: “EU migration has brought with it a huge surge in the exploitation of migrants and organised crime.”
The findings provide yet another devastating sign of the pressure Labour’s immigration policies have had on our towns and communities.
Which just goes to show that you really can make black into white and white into black.
Elsewhere, 5cc clarifies further the claim that 1 in 5 crimes in London are now committed by foreigners with figures from his own freedom of information request.
Labels: bullshit, crime figures, Daily Mail-watch, Express-watch, Guardian-watch, immigration, migrants, scaremongering