Wednesday 18 May 2022 10:37 PM Police officers told to go easy on shoplifters who steal to eat amid cost of ... trends now
Police officers were told yesterday to use their ‘discretion’ when deciding whether to prosecute shoplifters amid the cost of living crisis.
Andy Cooke, the new policing watchdog, risked the wrath of retailers yesterday as he suggested officers should weigh up whether it was best to haul those who steal to eat before the courts.
The Chief Inspectorate of Constabulary warned the rise in cost of living would ‘trigger an increase in crime’.
However, he advised police to use their ‘discretion’ to make sure such matters of law enforcement are ‘dealt with in the best way possible’.
Cops have been advised to think carefully about prosecuting shoplifters stealing to eat
Mr Cooke insisted that he didn’t want to be seen as ‘giving carte blanche for people to go out shoplifting’ or advocating an amnesty for people who commit crimes of poverty.
Nevertheless, his intervention could yet enrage retailers who warn it is ‘irresponsible to suggest that shoplifting should not be treated seriously’.
Mr Cooke, a former Merseyside police chief who took over as head of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary last month, said yesterday: ‘The impact of poverty, and the impact of lack of opportunity for people, does lead to an increase in crime.’
He told The Guardian that forces across England and Wales were skilled in dealing with the tensions and dynamics of their communities, adding: ‘What