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West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner has responded to the Policing Minister’s comments on poverty and crime, which challenged the long established “connection between poverty and crime.”

The Policing Minister’s comments are contrary to the Chief Inspector of Constabulary Andy Cooke, who said that “The impact of poverty, and the impact of lack of opportunity for people, does lead to an increase in crime. There’s no two ways about that.”

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster said,

“Let me be clear, the rule of law requires that offenders must be held to account via the criminal justice system. However, we now face a cost of living financial crisis that will cause poverty, inequality, insecurity and hardship. This will create the circumstances in which crime can, for some, become an attractive and viable option – and the vulnerable can become ever more susceptible to becoming victims of crime and criminal exploitation.

“I am deeply concerned that the government appears not to have given any consideration at all to the impact that rising inflation, rising taxes and the cost of living crisis might have on crime. I will be continuing to rebuild community policing, campaign for the return of our 1,000 missing police officers and fair funding for the West Midlands and support investment in our essential preventative public services to prevent crime, because the prevention of crime is always better than having to deal with the consequences of crime.”

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