Friday, September 09, 2022

British Police Fear Hard Winter Of Surging Crime And Violence

thetimes |  Police forces are braced for a rise in crime, a breakdown in public order and even corruption in their ranks this winter as they draw up emergency proposals to deal with the cost of living crisis.

Contingency planning among police chiefs is under way to deal with the fallout that could result from millions of households falling into financial difficulties.

A leaked national strategy paper, drawn up by them this summer, has revealed they are increasingly concerned that “economic turmoil and financial instability” has “potential to drive increases in particular crime types”.

These include “acquisitive” offences, such as shoplifting, burglary and vehicle theft, as well as online fraud and blackmail, and crimes that “rely on exploiting financial vulnerability”.

At a regional level, some police forces are preparing for more children to be sucked into county lines drug gangs and women falling victim to sexual exploitation. Priti Patel, the home secretary, is understood to share their concern.

One chief constable has said that their force has already noticed an increase in some offences and has stepped up preparations in response. The higher price cap on household energy bills, £3,549, comes into force on October 1.

Drawn up with input from the National Police Chiefs’ Council, the document goes on to say that “a more complex and unpredictable risk is the chance of greater civil unrest, as a response to prolonged and painful economic pressure”.

A senior officer at one force in the north of England told a local MP that without significant government intervention they feared a return to the febrile conditions that led to the London riots in 2011.

The document says: “Greater financial vulnerability may expose some staff to higher risk of corruption, especially among those who fall into significant debt or financial difficulties.” It offers a glimpse of the stark choices facing the new prime minister, expected to be Liz Truss, when they take office on Tuesday. It can also be revealed:

•Truss will make a “very short” speech to the country on Tuesday making clear that she understands the pain caused by rising energy bills and offering an “immediate” package of support for families, before getting cabinet approval for the plans on Wednesday.


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