Minister slaps down police chief who said shoplifters stealing to eat should be spared

19 May 2022, 08:17 | Updated: 19 May 2022, 10:28

Policing Minister: Says shoplifters should be arrested regardless of circumstances

By Asher McShane

The policing minister has struck back at remarks made by the new chief inspector of constabulary who said officers should use discretion in cases where people are stealing to eat amid the cost of living crisis.

Kit Malthouse told Nick Ferrari at breakfast today: “We believe the law should be blind. Police officers should act without fear or favour in the prosecution of the law."

"I wrote to chief constables just a year or so ago saying they should not be ignoring those seemingly small crimes."

His comments come after Andy Cooke said he "fully supports" police using their discretion when dealing with crimes committed as a result of the cost of living crisis.

Mr Malthouse said: “It’s not quite right to say that as the economy fluctuates, so does crime. We’ve seen economic problems in the past, or not, where crime has risen, or not.

Read more: Chancellor vows to cut taxes for businesses as he warns of 'tough' months ahead

Read more: 'Virtue signalling nonsense': Police slammed for 'woke' rainbow helmet worn by officer

Andy Cooke said he "fully supports" police using their discretion when dealing with crimes committed as a result of the cost of living crisis
Andy Cooke said he "fully supports" police using their discretion when dealing with crimes committed as a result of the cost of living crisis. Picture: Alamy

“Our job is to get ahead of these kind of crimes, particularly acquisitive neighbourhood crimes.

“There’s a growing body of evidence that says poverty doesn’t cause crime, crime and violence cause poverty.

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

The new HM chief inspector of constabulary said police should use "discretion" when deciding whether to prosecute desperate shoplifters amid rising poverty levels.

Andy Cooke told The Guardian that petty crime fuelled by the cost-of-living crisis would pose a challenge for policing, as inflation hit a 40-year high in April.

Policing Minister confronted over 'woke' rainbow helmet

Mr Cooke told the newspaper: "I think whenever you see an increase in the cost of living or whenever you see more people dropping into poverty, I think you'll invariably see a rise in crime.

"And that's going to be a challenge for policing to deal with."

Speaking about his advice for officers, Mr Cooke added: "What they've got to bear in mind is what is the best thing for the community, and that individual, in the way they deal with those issue.

"And I certainly fully support police officers using their discretion - and they need to use discretion more often."

He said he was not "giving a carte blanche for people to go out shoplifting", but wanted officers to ensure cases were "dealt with in the best way possible".

He added that he hoped to pull the current 6% charge rate for recorded offences up to 20%, and to ensure every burglary victim should receive a visit from police.

Mr Cooke has worked in policing since 1985 including as Chief Constable of Merseyside Police until taking over as HM chief inspector of constabulary from Sir Tom Winsor in April.

More Nick Ferrari

See more More Nick Ferrari

This is the moment Nick Ferrari puts a government minister on the spot over the government's new plans to ban smoking.

'When will the Conservatives be banning alcohol?' Nick Ferrari puts minister on the spot after smoking ban vote passes

'I'm ashamed to say Nick, I started smoking when I was 12' Tory MP reveals

Minister who reveals she started smoking at 12 says she's not interested in freedom argument against ban

This guest told LBC he was against Rishi Sunak's smoking ban because 'everybody dies in the end' and the NHS should 'price in' the cost of dealing with sick Brits.

'The NHS is there to make you healthy' guest dismisses smoking ban as 'everybody dies in the end'

Speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast, Lord Kim Darroch the former UK National Security Advisor for his assessment of the performance of "the current PM, the man who was PM and the man who wants to be PM"

Rishi Sunak has 'left the pitch free' for Lord Cameron to be Foreign Sec and 'toughen the line on Israel', says former diplomat

David Cameron tells LBC using RAF jets to shoot down Russian drones over Ukraine would lead to a 'dangerous escalation' in the conflict.

Nick Ferrari puts David Cameron on the spot: 'Why can't the RAF shoot down drones over Ukraine like they do Israel?'

Lord Cameron has described Iran’s strike on Israel as a “double defeat”

Lord Cameron urges Israel to ‘take the win,' don't retaliate and focus on defeating Hamas after Iran’s ‘double defeat’

Exclusive
Rishi Sunak has pledged a crackdown on shoplifting

'We’ve got your back': Rishi Sunak’s message to retail staff as he pledges crackdown on dangerous shoplifters

Exclusive
'None of our closest allies have stopped': Rishi Sunak defends decision not to suspend arms sales to Israel

'None of our closest allies have stopped': Rishi Sunak defends decision not to suspend arms sales to Israel

Exclusive
Braverman: Iran is 'funding and supporting proxies to carry out attacks in the UK'

Suella Braverman warns Iranian regime 'funding and supporting' 'targeted attacks' on UK streets

Exclusive
The mural on the wall of the Golden Chippy

A Greenwich fish and chip shop that's causing a stink over painting, as owner tells LBC he's 'determined to keep mural up'

Rishi Sunak’s job is under threat from a plot of backbench Tory MPs who want to replace him with Penny Mordaunt before the general election.

Tories 'need to stop messing around and get behind the Prime Minister,' Business Secretary tells LBC

Exclusive
'This is trivia': Kemi Badenoch hits out at continued furore over Tory donor 'racism' row

'This is trivia': Kemi Badenoch hits out at continued furore over Tory donor 'racism' row

Government suspends tariffs on key imports to boost SMEs launching £660 million northern powerhouse fund

Government suspends tariffs on key imports to boost SMEs launching £660 million northern powerhouse fund

'Floating voters' unconvinced by Jeremy Hunt's Budget

LBC's 'Floating Voters' left unconvinced by Jeremy Hunt's Budget

Leila Khaled, who hijacked planes, will appear via video link at a fundraiser hosted by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Andy Street wants police to look at the event

'I'm not comfortable with it': West Mids Mayor to speak to police amid fury over Palestinian hijacker’s fundraiser

Andy Street taking calls from the public on Nick Ferrari at Breakfast

Tory MP's claim that Birmingham has 'no-go areas' was 'ridiculous', West Midlands Mayor tells LBC