A former Labour law chief who now serves as a Police and Crime Commissioner was last night accused of ‘making excuses’ for criminals after blaming welfare cuts for shoplifting by women.
Northumbria PCC Vera Baird said there was growing evidence that women were being driven to steal nappies and food because they were getting fewer benefits.
Referring to crime figures in the North-East, the senior barrister declared: ‘At the end of last year, it was apparent that people were starting to steal items they could once afford.
‘There’s been growing evidence to suggest this is due to the impact of both poverty and welfare reform, with people stealing what they were once able to take for granted and just go out and buy. The growth in the number of first-time women shoplifting offenders would suggest it’s affecting the poorer women in our communities, those who are experiencing the impact of the welfare reforms.’