UK police fear a sharp rise in certain categories of crime and a risk of civil unrest this winter amid a cost of living and energy crisis, the Sunday Times reports, citing a leaked national strategy paper.
The document compiled by police chiefs warns that “economic turmoil and financial instability” may lead to an increase in offenses such as shoplifting, burglary, vehicle theft, online fraud and blackmail. More children are likely to join drug gangs and more women may become subject to sexual exploitation.
Contingency planning is reportedly underway to deal with the possible fallout from the cost of living crisis.
“Prolonged and painful economic pressure” could create a risk of “greater civil unrest,” similar to the London riots of 2011, the paper is quoted as saying.
Police themselves may also be affected. “Greater financial vulnerability may expose some staff to higher risk of corruption, especially among those who fall into significant debt or financial difficulties,” the paper said.
The gloomy forecast was revealed the day before the UK finds out the name of its new prime minister. Both candidates, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and former chancellor Rishi Sunak, have pledged to take decisive action to address soaring energy costs.