The police have been getting quite political of late and it’s not just former Tory chief whips who appear to be in the firing line - so do retailers.
At the start of this week the BBC picked up on a story from sunny Rotherham, which has seen a 28% jump crime in the past year, much of its directed at its shops.
But instead of the sort of fury that shoplifters in last year’s riots found directed at them, this time the police appeared almost apologetic.
According to the boys in blue much of the crime had been committed by first time shoplifters, including mums fed up at the rising cost of baby food.
That’s ok then. Obviously next time anyone fears arrest all they need to do is to point to the latest Asda Income Tracker, showing disposable income is down almost £50 a month- go and help yourselves.
And it seems the new police attitude, especially in South Yorkshire, isn’t a one off. Yesterday came the story of a Tesco store in Sheffield which has become so fed up with its drivers being attacked, threatened and having goods stolen from one crime-riddled estate, it has refused to deliver to the area. The residents were up in arms, and its hard not to feel sorry for those many innocent ones but it was galling to see the police also join in the Tesco bashing.
The decision was “completely unfair”, said the cops, adding “it’s going to make people worried.”
Well that may be so but perhaps more to the point, shouldn’t the police be doing more to catch the people throwing abuse and worse at the Tesco drivers not apologising or denying the real threat facing retailers and their staff on a day to day basis.
These are just two cases but research from the Centre for Retail Research shows that from mid-November to the end of December, the cost of retail crime will be as high as £999.7 million, up 3.4% compared to 2011, or a cost of £38.09 per household.
At that rate, we’ll all have to go out and start stealing some baby food quick.