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Clash over police treatment of illegal immigrant crime victims

Proportionate: Dr Billings has assured councillors police would be proportionate in dealing with crime victims who emerge as illegal immigrants.
Proportionate: Dr Billings has assured councillors police would be proportionate in dealing with crime victims who emerge as illegal immigrants.
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A Sheffield councillor has clashed with South Yorkshire’s policing boss over the way the force would deal with crime victims who then emerged to be in the UK illegally.

South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings repeatedly told Coun Joe Otten – who sits on the Police and Crime Panel which holds the PCC to account – that each case would be “dealt with on its merits” by officers and that their response would be “appropriate and proportionate”.

He was responding to concerns raised by Coun Otten after an incident eleswhere in the country where a woman who sought help from police following an alleged rape went on to find herself the target of investigations by the immigration authorities, apparently alerted by police.

Coun Otten told the meeting: “I don’t expect to be deported if I report a crime, I’m not sure some of my neighbours would be able to say the same thing.”

He was told by Dr Billings: “Every instance would be treated on its merits and in an an appropriate and proportionate fashion.

“If crimes are committed against people, South Yorkshire Police need know about it and I would expect them to treat it in an appropriate and proportionate way. Without any specific instance, it is difficult to san more than an appropriate and proportionate way.”

Coun Otton said: “Dealing with it as appropriate doesn’t really say very much. I am slightly intrigued as to how this would work, is there racial profiling? Someone who appears to be of ethnic minority may be likely to have a profile immigration authorities would be interested in.”

The same meeting heard results from a survey of public attitudes into trust and confidence in South Yorkshire Police that under 25s and black residents have the most confidence in the force.

Panel member Steve Chu said: “The fact that trust and confidence is higher than average reflects really well. It is surprising and encouraging.”