All those Romanians coming over here?

Shock figures show that the ­Metropolitan Police made 27,725 ­arrests over the past five years for offences including rape and ­murder. This is despite just 68,000 ­Romanians living here at present – a figure set to soar when Britain has to open its borders next January under an EU directive.

The crime statistics undermine reassurances from Romanian officials that the UK has nothing to fear from the lowering of border controls.

Tory MP Priti Patel said: “These figures show why, with 29 million Romanians and Bulgarians gaining unrestricted access to the UK, more needs to be done to control immig­ration and to safeguard the British public from foreign criminals.

(To be honest, I don’t get terrorised in the street very often. The last time it happened, the people doing the terrorising were white, British and extremely drunk. And it would be nice to think that the number of people the police arrest is connected to the number of people actually committing crimes, and totally unrelated to any prejudices against certain ethnicities. What a lovely world that would be. But anyway….)

Is Ms Patel right? There’s a lot of panic about vast hordes of Romanians coming to live here, claiming UK benefits and generally being a pain in the neck once EU restrictions force us to let them in.

Of course, we worried about the Poles as well and that turned out okay. Even people who are otherwise quite racist acknowledge that they are, on the whole, a nice, hard-working bunch of people.

Up until now, I’ve treated this sort of stuff peddled by the right-wing tabloid press with the contempt it deserves. But yesterday, a UKIP candidate came close to winning the Eastleigh by-election. Now that’s worrying. It could just be mid-term jitters and people taking a flutter on someone new. I’d like to think so. But isn’t that how the Nazis started out?

So, any Romanians out there? Have we put you off our green and pleasant land yet?


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