‘Law should be blind’ Minister hits out at Police chief suggesting hungry robbers let go

Police are being assaulted in record numbers says Peter Bleksley

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The new chief inspector of the constabulary’s comments that police officers should be free to use their “discretion” during the cost-of-living crisis is “old-fashioned thinking”, policing minister Kit Malthouse blasted. The inspector Andy Cooke warned that the cost-of-living squeeze would trigger more shoplifting, especially of food. Mr Cooke said: “The impact of poverty, and the lack of opportunity for people, does lead to an increase in crime. There are no two ways about that.”

To correct the record, policing minister Kit Malthouse rectified the misconception on LBC: “I’m afraid I find it a bit old-fashioned thinking.

“We, first of all, think that the law should be blind and police officers should operate without fear or favour in the prosecution of the law.

“But secondly also, that it’s not right to say as the economy fluctuates, so does crime.

“You know, we’ve seen economic problems in the past or not when crime has risen or not.”

“You know, our job is to get ahead of these kinds of crimes, particularly in acquisitive neighbourhoods’ crimes which are now down very significantly post-pandemic, assisted I have to say by the pandemic.

“But to drive them down even further.”

The crime rate in the UK was about 80 per 1,000 people in 2021-2022 – an overall increase of 1.18 percent compared to 2020, according to the data analysis project CrimeRate.

“And we can do that in smart ways”, Minister Malthouse added.

“So, for example, you said the drug summit today

“We know that 50 percent of acquisitive crime – burglary, robbery, shoplifting – is driven by an addiction to heroin and crack, right?

“If we can treat that addiction, then we can reduce crime.

“As you will know Nick, we are GPS tagging acquisitive criminals as they come out of prison – burglars, robbers – to make sure they don’t re-offend.

“We know where they are 24 hours a day. We can put a time and place next to a crime.

“These kinds of solutions will help us beat, I’m afraid, that slight 1970s assumption.”

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“You know, we think there is a growing body of evidence that says if poverty doesn’t cause crime, actually crime and violence cause poverty”, Minister Malthouse said, correcting Mr Cooke’s assumption.

“And when you remove crime and violence, very often people and neighbourhoods fly and prosper.

“That’s not say there’s not a cost-of-living challenge. Of course, there is.

“But our job is to make sure we drive crime down, notwithstanding that challenge for everybody.”

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