Police target top 10 ‘untouchable’ criminals in town

A TOP ten of ‘untouchable’ Eastern European criminals is being targeted by the police in Bognor Regis.

The hit list of criminals among those who have settled in the town from countries such as Poland, Lithuania and Latvia has been drawn up as part of plans to disrupt their illegal activities.

Inspector Nick Bowman, who is in charge of neighbourhood policing around the Arun district, said: “If you compare crime recorded between April 1 last year and April 1, 2012, there was an eight per cent increase.

“Some of that increase was down to Eastern Europeans but not all of it.

“We should not shy away from informing people of the facts.

“In fact, some of the Eastern European people are organised into crime groups. They have a structure – a person in charge, a couple of deputies, all the way down the chain.

“They have a sat nav team, a muscle team and a burglary team.

“We are trying to disrupt these groups.

“The best way to do that is to get arrests and put them in prison.”

He described those most strongly linked to the groups as the top ten of Eastern European criminals.

“These people who consider themselves to be untouchable, we want to put our hands on their shoulders and put them somewhere else,” he said.

More than eight out of ten – 82 per cent – of the total offences in the year from April 2011 were committed by people who are not Eastern Europeans

That left 18 per cent caused by those who were.

But Insp Bowman stressed most of the Eastern Europeans were hard-working, family-centred individuals who had settled in the community.

He also said many of them were victims of crimes committed by those from their own countries. His comments came at the annual general meeting of Bognor Regis Neighbourhood Watch last Thursday.

They expanded on the launch by the police of Operation Accent last month, as reported. It will have 50 staff, including ten police officers and PCSOs.

This is intended to build up a better understanding and improved links with those from Eastern Europe.