THE Thames Valley's Police and Crime Commissioner has been accused of 'dog whistle politics' after blaming foreigners for rising crime.

Anthony Stansfeld stands by his comments and said it is 'absolute rubbish' to suggest they were 'racialist'.

In a lengthy statement about the need for more police funding, Mr Stansfeld referenced 'foreign nationals' as a reason for increasing demand being placed upon officers.

Discussing a rise in serious and organised crime locally and nationally, while backing a council tax increase to fund police, he wrote: "A significant amount of the more serious crime is now being committed by foreign national offenders."

Oxford West and Abingdon MP Layla Moran responded: “I am concerned that the PCC singling out foreign nationals as the perpetrators reeks of dog whistle politics and risks an increase in hate crimes to people from other nations who’ve made their home in our communities.

“It is disappointing that due to the failings of the PCC’s own party in providing a decent, sustainable funding settlement for the police, taxpayers face an increase in council tax yet again."

She added that she still supports scrapping PCCs and 'their costly office entirely' – which Conservative Mr Stansfeld said was due to the fact that the Lib Dems 'don't have any PCCs'.

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Oxford City Councillor Shaista Aziz, who is also an equalities campaigner working on hate crime, said: “It seems more than regrettable that during the heightened, divisive, politically charged climate in the country, the PCC is focusing on ‘foreign national offenders.’ Crimes are committed by criminals.

"Criminals commit crime regardless of their race or country of origin or any other aspect of their identity. It is most unfortunate that the commissioner’s message makes reference to this.”

Defending his comments, Mr Stansfeld said: "I was just stating a bare fact. 24 per cent of serious crime (in the Thames Valley) is committed by foreign nationals. I think it has gone up significantly over the last few years.

"This is not a racialist thing - that's absolute rubbish."

Referencing the potential loss of a criminal database post Brexit, the council's crime lead Tom Hayes added: “If the PCC is so worried about overseas criminals, why doesn’t he tell his Government to bin a Brexit Deal that allows more of them to slip through the net?”

Oxford East MP Anneliese Dodds noted national statistics suggesting the number of foreigners being deported and in prisons is declining.

Mr Stansfeld accepted there was a danger in pointing out that crime is being committed by foreigners but said there was a 'far bigger' danger of not understanding the issue.

He continued: "A number of people have come to this country to cause crime and then go home again - these are not immigrants, these are foreign nationals coming to this country.

"We have had people from as far away as Chile come over to make money then go home again.

"I was trying to point out that its one of the many problems that we have.

"I tell the truth on these things."