Cost of living crisis could spark ‘civil unrest’ like 2011 riots, police chiefs fear

An alarming leaked document, drawn up with input from the National Police Chiefs' Council, warns drugs gang recruitment and sexual exploitation cases are set to rise.

Source > Mirror

By Dave Burke Senior News Reporter

4 Sep 2022, 15:02

Police chiefs fear a repeat of the 2011 riots as the cost of living crisis deepens, chilling documents reveal.

It is feared that “prolonged and painful economic pressure” will lead to a spike in crime, with a “greater chance of civil unrest”.

An alarming leaked document, drawn up with input from the National Police Chiefs’ Council, warns drugs gang recruitment and sexual exploitation cases are set to rise.

It is also feared that domestic abusers may not be reported because their partner is financially reliant on them, according to reports.

Force chiefs are understood to be worried that without significant intervention from the government, there may be a return to “febrile conditions” that sparked widespread rioting more than a decade ago.

A document shared with The Sunday Times also warns that public servants could be more vulnerable to corruption as skyrocketing bills plunge Brits into crisis.

It says forces face “a more complex and unpredictable risk is the chance of greater civil unrest, as a response to prolonged and painful economic pressure”.

The report says shoplifting, burglary and vehicle theft are likely to go up, as well as online fraud and crimes which “rely on exploiting financial vulnerability”.

The incoming Prime Minister – likely to be Liz Truss – has been urged to put support in place to prevent those in peril turning to crime.

An unnamed MP who was briefed on the document told the newspaper: “They feel confident that if she [Truss] wins and puts in a significant package of support, offending shouldn’t drastically increase.

“If the support doesn’t meet expectations, they would be expecting similar scenes to 2011.”

The MP was referencing riots which broke out around the country following the Met Police killing of Mark Duggan.

Violence and looting broke out initially in London before spreading to other cities and towns across the UK.

A Home Office spokesman said: “Our absolute priority is to get more police onto our streets, cut crime, protect the public and bring more criminals to justice. We are supporting police by providing them with the resources they need to keep us safe, including recruiting 20,000 extra police officers.

“We are also working closely with the police-led National Business Crime Centre and National Association of Business Crime Partnerships to help ensure effective partnership working and data sharing between retailers and police, particularly when dealing with prolific offenders who commit a high proportion of shop theft offences.”

Today Ms Truss repeatedly declined to spell out her plans to tackle soaring energy bills, 48 hours before she is tipped to become the next prime minister.

The Foreign Secretary promised to act “immediately” to tackle the energy crisis upon entering Number 10 but would not offer clear detail of the support struggling households can expect.

There have been ever-louder calls in recent weeks for the Government to intervene to support the most vulnerable, with energy bills set to rise to around £3,500 this winter for the average household.

Ms Truss, who denied she was being “coy”, said she wanted to reassure voters that help is coming but indicated they would need to wait for a few days yet to find out what exactly such support might look like.

In an interview with the BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg programme, she said: “I will act if I’m elected as prime minister. I will act immediately on bills and on energy supply because I think those two things go hand in hand.

“We need to deal with the immediate problem, we need to help people. We need to help businesses. But we also need to sort out the supply issues.”

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