February 22, 2023 7.00 pm This story is over 14 months old

No rise in crime linked to Skegness asylum seekers, police say

Police debunk rumours circulating online

Police have confirmed there hasn’t been a rise in crime in Skegness, despite online fearmongering.

Unconfirmed claims have circulated in Facebook groups about disorder fuelled by the temporary migrants.

A tabloid also recently described the town as a ‘powder keg’ and reported incidents including broken shop windows, vandalised cars and skirmishes with security staff.

A protest has also been organised for this weekend, with the Skegness MP warning the issue is being exploited by far-right groups.

However, Lincolnshire Police maintain that local people aren’t reporting any extra crimes, and residents haven’t become more unsafe.

At a large public meeting in November, Superintendent Pat Coates said: “We have all the resources we need. We manage hundreds of thousands of tourists every summer.”

He added there was no evidence that people are at additional risk.

The housing has proved controversial in Skegness, with hundreds attending a public meeting | Photo: LDRS/The Lincolnite

However, this hasn’t stopped fears or rumours flying. One woman at the meeting said: “We are scared to go out at night.”

A man claimed his partner was “petrified” and “intimidated” by groups she believed were asylum seekers.

Others said that there were stories online of alleged crimes by asylum seekers, including stolen phones, harrasing women or taking pictures of children playing football.

Superintendent Coates said the force could only act if they received reports, and urged people to come forward if they had been victims.

He added: “Making young women feel safe in public is at the forefront of our agenda.”

Local leaders and police answered residents’ questions about the temporary use of hotels | Photo: LDRS/Lincolnite

He told the meeting that police regularly visit the hotels to keep both asylum seekers and the community safe.

Lincolnshire Police say they respect people’s right to protest, but won’t tolerate any criminal behaviour at the event on Saturday.

A recent protest outside an asylum seeker hotel in Merseyside saw 15 people arrested after it became violent.

MP Matt Warman stood up in Parliament on Monday to warn how the issue was being exploited.

“While there are legitimate concerns, I hope the Minister will agree that the shameless use of people’s concerns by far-right groups is to be deplored and stands in the way of our having a sensible conversation that will in the long-term allow us to move beyond the use of these hotels,” he said.

Serco, the government contractor responsible for housing asylum seekers, are now exploring other options such as detached housing and student accommodation.

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