Julia Hartley Brewer: 'Theft has effectively been decriminalised in Britain'

TalkTV's Julia Hartley-Brewer has said that theft has effectively been decriminalised in Britain.

It comes after Suella Braverman has insisted police have the resources to meet a pledge to follow all “reasonable lines of enquiry” in an effort to drive down crime rates.

This follows the release of guidelines by the College of Policing advising officers to take all evidence into account if this could identify a suspect or locate stolen items.

The Home Secretary rejected a suggestion the pledge would mean fewer resources for more serious, complex investigations.

“The police have a record number of men and women working on their front line than ever before," she said. "So they have the numbers of people who are there.

“This is about ensuring that those resources are properly diverted to what I call common sense policing, back-to-basics policing, that they don’t dismiss certain crimes as unimportant or minor.

“It’s about ensuring they are freed from doing other, time consuming tasks.”

In the last three years, over 20,000 new recruits joined the police, but this came after many positions were eliminated due to austerity measures.

The Government has also been alerted that due to the population growth since 2010, there are now fewer officers per person.

Ms Braverman has also requested plans from police chiefs on how they intend to improve visibility in local communities.

Julia Hartley-Brewer said: "These things are so blindly obvious, isn’t it amazing that anyone has to say this out loud?

"It’s very sad its got to the stage that a Conservative Home Secretary after 13-plus years of Conservative rule to say we should investigate thefts.

"Owners of High Street shops in my area have been tearing their hair out over the daily imposition of organised gangs coming in, grabbing stuff and there's nothing they can do about it.

"Police won't come, if they do they won't investigation, they walk the person outside and let them go. We have effectively decriminalised theft in this country."

Former Met Police officer Peter Bleksley said: "The very basics of policing have to be made clear to officers.

Shop lifting, assaults on staff, theft of phones, bikes and cars, domestic burglary; they are all largely decriminalised because the police have turned their back on it in the last 10 to 20 years.

"And they insultingly call these crimes low level. What a deeply insulting expression that is."