Letters: Trouble in Dover

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The Independent Culture
Sir: I am sure I reflect the view of the great majority of people in the town of Dover in condemning the violent incidents in Pencester Gardens last weekend (report, 16 August). I hope that all the victims of these senseless acts make speedy and complete recoveries. I am confident that the enhanced police strategy will result in early prosecutions.

As a resident of the Folkestone Road area for many years, I can vouch personally for the fact that the problems we are experiencing are associated with the very large number of asylum-seekers that have been accommodated in our small community.

The Town Council, our other local authorities and our Member of Parliament have all made representations to the Government about these matters and we welcome the Government's new Immigration and Asylum Bill, which will ease many of Dover's problems in the medium term. However, the Government has recognised that there are now far too many asylum-seekers in Dover and has started to address this by encouraging cooperative action between local authorities.

This arrangement has all but stopped the "dumping" of asylum-seekers on Dover from other areas, and it has already resulted in more than 150 asylum-seekers moving out of the town. I understand that the Home Office is now in talks with Leeds City Council with a view to them taking still more of Dover's asylum-seekers.

Our Member of Parliament and representatives from local authorities will be meeting the Home Office Minister, Lord Bassam, in Westminster to discuss the situation. I also look forward to discussing Dover's problems further with Ministers when they visit the town in the near future.