EXCLUSIVE: Influx of Eastern European immigrants leads to rising tensions, say police

Shirebrook protest rally at Sports Direct.
Shirebrook protest rally at Sports Direct.
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Derbyshire Constabulary has revealed how they have been battling to control rising tensions in Shirebrook after an influx of Polish and Eastern European immigrants.

The depth of the problem arose during Derbyshire Constabulary’s application to Chesterfield magistrates’ court to ban the media from naming a Polish sex offender living in Shirebrook.

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Sergeant Mark Church stated: “I am under no illusion that another trigger incident could easily reverse all the good work that has been achieved recently.”

A police statement - presented to the court - argued Eastern European immigrants now make up about ten per cent of the population and orders have had to be used to stop street drinking. And after two incidents involving Polish males and alleged assaults including a stabbing the force’s Safer Neighbourhood Team had to be strengthened.

Public protests were also identified by police as potentially fanning the flames with one in particular highlighted as revealing a deep-seated mistrust of foreign nationals.

Police Sgt Mark Church stated: “The town has a population of approximately 10,000 of which it is estimated that at least 1,000 people come from Eastern Europe. The largest percentage of this Eastern European community is Polish.

“Historically, Shirebrook was a mining town until the pit closures of the 1980s. In recent years there has been a rapid expansion in the Eastern European population within the town. The rapid rise in population has put some real social strains on the town’s facilities.

“This fairly dramatic change in the town’s population demographic has not been without its problems. For example, in 2015 it became necessary to introduce a Designated Public Places Order which was then replaced with a Public Spaces Protection Order in response to the growing street drinking culture that was developing and causing tensions in the town.

“Residents and shopkeepers were increasingly reporting the negative effect that street drinking was having in the town centre. Reports of drunkenness and its associated anti-social behaviour were on the rise during 2015 prior to the introduction of these orders.”

Sgt Church also revealed that community tensions were at an all-time high in the summer of 2015.

He added: “The tensions were so great that the then Bolsover Inspector made a decision that it was necessary to restructure his section and bolster the strength of the Shirebrook Safer Neighbourhood Team.

“There had been two trigger incidents both involving Polish males. Both were alleged assaults and the more serious of the two incidents caused uproar in the community and triggered the formation of a residents’ group called Shirebrook Together.

“This group has since held several protests two of which were in the form of rallies on the market square. I attended one of these protests in November 2015 and it was apparent that there is a deep-seated mistrust of foreign nationals amongst many of the population.

“There were occasional shouts from the crowd about “the Polish p*****g and sh*****g on the streets...” and about the social pressures caused by a rise in demand for housing.”

Sgt Church added that he and his team has since worked tirelessly at improving community relationships and their team has been nominated for the SNT Team of the Year award and argued tensions are “considerably less” than last summer.

But he fears that “another trigger incident” could easily reverse all the good work the police claim to have achieved.

The police argued that allowing the media to identify Polish sex offender Marcin Lucasz Jaworski, 20, of Eland Road, Langwith Junction, Shirebrook, during an on-going court application to place him on the Sex Offenders’ Register posed such a trigger.

But following a challenge by the Derbyshire Times on Friday, April 22, District Judge Andrew Davison rejected any proposed reporting restriction on the grounds of open justice and that the media plays a vital role, on behalf of the public, in upholding that principle.

Sgt Church had argued Jaworksi, who was convicted of rape in October, 2014, in Poland and has a previous notice for street drinking, would be vulnerable if identified, and lives with others who could be put at risk and he may leave the area if identified.

Sgt Church, who revealed social media has previously been used to identify a local man accused of a sex offence, stated he was confident police could monitor Jaworski without wider public awareness.

However, the Derbyshire Times challenged the proposed restriction on the grounds publication is in the public interest and in the interests of public safety and potential unrest should not be allowed to outweigh these greater concerns.

The newspaper argued any reporting restriction would also affect its intention to investigate why a foreign national, convicted in Poland in 2014 of rape, was allowed residential status.

District Judge Davison told the court hearing: “A fundamental principle is open justice which is a hallmark of the law. The media plays a vital role in the upholding of that principle on behalf of the public.”

He stressed that proceedings must be held in public and reporting should not be prevented by the court.

He added: “Unless there are exceptional circumstances the court must not exclude the press or the public from the court or withhold information or restrict the rights of the media to report court proceedings including details of this defendant.”

He also added: “I am not satisfied that such a restriction can in any way be justified in the facts presented by Derbyshire Constabulary in this case.”

Solicitor Caroline Sellars, representing Derbyshire Constabulary, told the court that police have known about Mr Jaworski’s conviction since February 9.

The police application to place Mr Jaworski on the Sex Offenders’ Register for seven years was further adjourned until May 5 due to Mr Jaworski’s absence from court.

A Government Home Office spokesman would not discuss Jaworski’s personal circumstances regarding his current residential or work status in the UK in light of his previous rape conviction from Poland.

However, the spokesman said: “We cannot comment on individual cases. However, generally we can refuse entry to the UK to anyone convicted of a criminal offence. Tougher rules were also introduced in December 2012 with a framework for refusals based on length of time and sentences.

“If someone had applied for entry and a previous conviction was not stated that person can be deported and anyone who commits an offence during their time in the UK can also be considered for deportation.”

Bolsover MP Dennis Skinner said he has written to Derbyshire Constabulary’s Chief Constable Mick Creedon with concerns raised by a constituent and he said he has urged the Chief Constable to answer questions raised by constituents on the matter.

He added that he is waiting for a response before taking matters any further.

Police have since confirmed that Mr Jaworski has moved out of Derbyshire but his new address is known to Derbyshire Constabulary.

A police spokesman said the appropriate police force and agencies covering Mr Jaworski’s new address will be alerted but Derbyshire Constabulary’s application to place Mr Jaworski on the Sex Offenders’ Register will be pursued.

Derbyshire Constabulary declined to comment regarding any potential deportation proceedings for a foreign national with a previous conviction for rape.