Tory Police Secretary slams down boss’s plea that police not shoplifters to eat

Police Secretary Kit Malthouse said poverty “doesn’t cause crime” as he dismissed the Chief Inspector of Constabulary’s request that police officers show “discretion” amid the cost of living crisis

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The police minister rejects the boss’s request that the police spare shoplifters

The Tory Police Secretary today struck down a watchdog’s plea for police officers to spare shoplifters stealing to eat.

Kit Malthouse suggested that there was no “link between poverty and crime” in the cost-of-living crisis.

He branded the plea “old-fashioned” and said “the judiciary should be blind” regardless of the criminal’s circumstances.

The £115,824 minister added: “There is growing evidence that poverty does not cause crime – in fact crime and violence cause poverty.”

It comes after the new HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary said police should exercise “discretion” when deciding whether to prosecute desperate shoplifters.

Andy Cooke told The Guardian that petty crime fueled by 40-year inflationary highs would pose a challenge for police.

Kit Malthouse arrives at a Tory party in March


Nigel Howard)

He said of officials: “They have to consider what is best for the community and for that individual as they deal with these issues.

“And I certainly fully support cops when they exercise discretion – and they need to exercise discretion more often.”

But Mr Malthouse told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “I find his thinking a bit old-fashioned at this school.”

“Because people are financially challenged – they are at the moment, I admit the cost of living that people are facing is very difficult for households across the country – doesn’t necessarily mean they will turn to crime . ”

He boasted the government had already doubled a hardship fund and raised the minimum wage “to help the people who are really struggling at the bottom of the pile.”

In a bleak assessment of the aid to come, he said the government will try to “squeeze out of the coffers” more aid, but it is “what our economy can afford”.

Police should exercise discretion when apprehending shoplifters, the watchdog said


(Getty Images)

He added: “The general rule is that the judiciary should be blind and I hope and believe that this is the principle that underlies not only the police but also the work of the courts.

“People should turn to the comprehensive package of measures we have put together to support the cost of living.”

It comes after a food bank in Truro, Cornwall, said it had seen children suffering from food poisoning because parents were turning off fridges to save money.

Manager Simon Fann said: “[We have had] Reports of children with stomach upset or, worst case scenario, food poisoning because some parents turn off their fridges and freezers overnight.”

Chancellor Rishi Sunak was due to promise corporate tax cuts in a speech to industry chiefs last night this fall – although the reference to the fall was dropped from his closing speech.

But he’s still torn about what to do for ordinary families, with some Tories proposing tax cuts while others are arguing for urgent increases in welfare payments.

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