18 March 2009

Crawley Police anger at BNP crime slur

A slur by a right-wing politician has provoked an angry response from police.

British National Party leader Nick Griffin used Crawley as an example of rising crime across Britain, during a speech in the area last week.

But his estimate of crime figures was more than 10 times higher than the reality.

Speaking at a party meeting in Crawley Down last Thursday, Mr Griffin said England only saw 300 burglaries a year in the 1930s. He added: "There must be more than that in Crawley in a month."

Police figures show there have been less than 300 in Crawley in the last year.

Chief Inspector Steve Curry, district commander of Crawley Police, said: "Mr Griffin is clearly not well informed and his comments are quite wrong.

"If allowed to remain unchecked, they could contribute to affecting some people's perception and indeed their fear of crime. From 1 April 2008 to today, 266 people have had their homes burgled in Crawley. I want to see this number reduced further so more people don't have to go through this experience."

Mr Griffin spoke as part of the BNP's Battle For Britain campaign for the European elections on June 4. During his speech at the Haven Centre, he branded Islam a "bizarre medievalist desert sect."

Arif Syed, chairman of Broadfield Mosque, said: "Within the democratic system we live in, Mr Griffin can hold what views he chooses. The fact of the matter is that three great religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam all have their roots in the desert regions of the Middle East.

"It is difficult to believe that any religion would survive the test of time if it was as exclusive and insular as Mr Griffin appears to suggest."

This is Sussex

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