Labour minister, Chris Williamson, attends immigration talk in Boston
A PROFESSOR in community cohesion has visited Boston for a discussion on immigration.
Professor Harris Beider attended the meeting at Boston Borough Council with the Labour Shadow Minister for Communities and Local Government, Chris Williamson.
Both guests are gathering information for generating policy and met with borough and county councillors and guests who have contributed to the borough council's impact of population change report.
Professor Beider, told an audience in Boston: "Boston as a town has changed and it's not going back. Migrants in Boston won't go away – they've made it their home. Rather than be fearful it can be a positive source for change.
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"People will have the same issues irrespective of the communities they are in – concerns about housing, jobs, health. I am confident you are providing a long-term vision for the town. People have to buy into it."
Mr Williamson, MP for Derby North, told the council's task and finish group that their Social Impact of Population Change report was "a model of good practice".
Professor Beider acknowledged that while some people came only to work and then moved on, most wanted to make a contribution to local communities and the country as a whole.
Chief Supt Paula Wood said a lot of partnership working was taking place and Chief Insp Paul Timmins dismissed a claim that migrant workers were responsible for rising crime committed in the area.
He said there had been an eight per cent reduction in crime in the last year – down by 500 offences – and a 10 per cent reduction in violent crime.
Councillor Mike Gilbert said one of the actions in Boston had been to tackle hot spots where anti-social behaviour, often fuelled by drink, was an issue. Public seating had been removed to dissuade groups from congregating and he said reports of anti-social behaviour in these areas had been cut by half since last August.
Cllr Gilbert added that the Sustainable Communities Act may enable the borough council to draw back controls from Government. As an example he said there could be possibilities for more local control of drinks licences.