Jacqui Smith has called all 43 chief constables to an urgent summit on crime involving immigrants, it has emerged.The Home Secretary has also ordered a full investigation of the problem by the Government’s Migration Impacts Forum.

It follows a series of warnings by chief constables that they do not have the resources to cope with a crimewave linked to foreign nationals – who are committing up to one in every five offences in one police force area.

Details of the summit emerged in a letter from Miss Smith to Ken Jones, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers. •

The letter says: “A number of chief constables have expressed public concern about the impact of migrants on police resources.”

She wants him to arrange for all chief constables to meet her to voice her concerns.

It will be seen as proof the Home Office is prepared to listen to the pleas by chief constables for extra cash.

The inquiry by the MIF – which is considering whether migrants are placing too much strain on public services – will follow in July.

Last month, it emerged that Britain’s highest ranking black policeman had warned Miss Smith his force was struggling to cope with a rise in crime by immigrants.

Mike Fuller, the Chief Constable of Kent, said that “migration surges” had contributed to an increase of more than a third in violent crime over five years to 7,800 incidents in 2007.

Jacqui SmithCrisis talks: Home Secretary Jacqui Smith is worried immigration is fuelling crime

In a leaked letter, he said the Government’s failure to increase his budget to match

the population rise will have a “negative impact on performance”.

Other chief constables have given similar warnings, including Cambridgeshire’s Julie Spence.

She said the effect of immigration had seeped into all areas of policing. Migrants with ‘different standards’ got into difficulties because they were unfamiliar with traffic laws.

Police had also noticed a growth in prostitution, generated by the arrival of large numbers of single men.

Mrs Spence said: “The influx of migrants from Eastern European countries is placing a huge strain on resources The new communities have certainly brought greater complexity to the pattern of crime, and are a strain on existing resources.

“A lot of these communities land without any attention and are expected to absorb into the landscape.

“As police, we have to adapt all the time to deal with the problems.”

In the Metropolitan Police area, foreign nationals are responsible for more than one in five crimes.

Around a third of all sex offences and a half of all frauds in the London area are carried out by non-British citizens.

The biggest offenders are Poles, who have moved to Britain in record numbers since the expansion of the EU. In the first six months of 2007 they were responsible for 583 violent attacks and 32 sex offences.

Romanians, who joined the EU in January last year, are fifth on the list with more than 1,000 offences – an eightfold rise on the same period in 2006, according to Metropolitan Police figures for solved crimes.

Miss Smith’s letter said she believes the issues raised by chief constables are broader than just immigrants committing crime.

They also have concerns about new arrivals being victims or witnesses to offending.

A Home Office spokesman said: “Understanding the impacts of migration on communities is essential which is why the Migration Impacts Forum was set up. We need to strike a new balance in Britain’s migration policy, weighing the economic benefits with frontline feedback about wider impacts.”

Violent gangs see the police as a ‘minor irritant’ to their activities and “almost an irrelevance“, a senior policeman has warned.

David Lindley, deputy chief constable of Leicestershire, said that a shortage of officers meant fewer arrests are being made.

He revealed that officers are trying to crack down on up to 20 gangs caught up in drugs, robberies and turf wars in Leicester.

But due to a lack of resources, “we are dipping in and out of these investigations,” he added. “We have seen a reduction in the number of arrests, not because our officers are less productive but simply because there are fewer of them.”

Leicestershire Police Authority meets today to discuss increasing council tax payments to provide funding for more officers.

• Chief constables should show “entrepreneurial” spirit and obtain sponsorship for police dogs and cars, Sir Ronnie Flanagan will say today.

His report on police reform will criticise red tape for keeping 3,000 officers off the streets.

The former RUC chief constable, now a Home Office policing adviser, wants police forces to secure sponsorship for everything from mobile phones and mountain bikes to alarms for domestic violence victims and even police dogs.

In a statement to MPs, Jacqui Smith will today accept his recommendations for slashing red tape. The stop form will be axed, but stop and search forms will remain.

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