Police officer hits back over immigration article

Sgt Gary Joynes of Lincolnshire Police
Sgt Gary Joynes of Lincolnshire Police

The police officer featured in a national newspaper’s report on immigration in Boston has hit back against its portrayal of the town - and him.

Sgt Gary Joynes, a neighbourhood beat sergeant for Lincolnshire Police, appears in an article in The Independent about the impact of migration from the European Union on the UK.

It quotes Sgt Joynes as saying the ‘biggest issue’ being people urinating and defecating in the street, before referring to, what the piece describes as, ‘signs of more serious tensions’.

It states: “The town has now become notorious for its strained relations with migrants, a notoriety which Sgt Joynes has replaced its previous claim to infamy: ‘We were the fattest town in England, but the Easter European ladies don’t tend to be a large build, so that’s brought it right down’.”

Sgt Joynes told The Standard he stressed to The Independent’s journalist tension between the town’s newer and more long-standing residents is not serious.

He said: “It’s rare to get a hate crime in this town where an English person or a migrant worker has been targeted because of their nationality. That bit is certainly not what I tried to convey to them.”

He described the statement as ‘an inaccurate snapshot’.

Sgt Joynes accepted that the town had become well-known for the size of its immigration population and that this had come to replace the exposure it was receiving for its obesity levels, but denied that there was any signs of tension in Boston.

He said: “The people of Boston are used to it. It’s part of everyday life. It’s not new and it’s not exciting.”

Sgt Joynes is, in fact, quoted as saying the town is ‘not a tinder box’ and that hate crime is ‘very rare’, though it appears later in the article following interviews with two other people.

He described the quote regarding Eastern European ladies as a ‘glib comment’ made during the course of three hours with the journalist as he showed them around the town.

Sgt Joynes said he was unhappy how the comment was juxtaposed with a statement from the journalist that there were ‘signs of more serious tension’.

He said this made it appear as though he had effectively ‘ignored’ the journalist’s position, commenting instead on the town shedding its title of the nation’s fattest town.