Shoplifting in Britain according to police records released most recently is on the increase, how could this possibly surprise anyone, especially when we read and hear much about the rise of the food bank and the millions who are forced to turn to them when the pennies just don’t seem to stretch that far enough any more, that’s if you are one of the great many working poor or even one of the many thousands of unemployed that have been sanctioned by Iain Duncan Smith's DWP.
Recession-linked crime (that’s if you think that putting food on the table is a crime) is on the up as the spending cuts bite, this is backed by Nick Gargan, chief constable of Avon and Somerset Constabulary, who told the Financial Times that police leaders were talking about an “austerity bulge” in crime figures: “We are seeing a ramping-up effort as the cuts take hold.”
The rise in shoplifting came in more than two-thirds of the 43 police force areas, with the largest increases in the West Midlands, Merseyside, and West Yorkshire.
Last week scuffles broke-out between shoppers and police and a 99p store in North Wales it scrapped its half price sale. Police chiefs, concerned about the risk of violence called on the home secretary this month to authorise the use of water cannon in protests arising from “potential future austerity measures” The Home Office said it wants to ensure police have the tools they need but has yet to give approval for water cannon - it will only be a question of time but my guess is they will get the new toys.
And finally, I am most grateful to a twitter comrade for spotting an article in the Guardian about three North London squatters charged with stealing food that had been thrown away at the back of Iceland in Kentish Town. Initially arrested for burglary, the three men were charged under an obscure section of the 1824 Vagrancy Act - you could not make this up!
Three charged with stealing food from skip behind Iceland supermarket full story