Rise in thefts of essential items

Tayside’s police chief has said an increase in shoplifting of food and essential items across the region is likely due to the cost of living crisis.
Ch Supt Phil Davison said there have been reports of thefts of basic necessities.Ch Supt Phil Davison said there have been reports of thefts of basic necessities.
Ch Supt Phil Davison said there have been reports of thefts of basic necessities.

Speaking at a recent Angus Council meeting, divisional commander Chief Superintendent Phil Davison warned the force has noticed “slight” changes in the type of items taken in such crimes recently.

Ch Supt Davison said there have been reports of citizens stealing basic necessities and says the force has concerns over the wider impact as more people struggle financially.

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The senior figure was discussing a police quarterly performance report with councillors at Angus Council’s scrutiny and audit committee.

Arbroath West, Letham and Friockheim councillor Martin Shepherd noted a small increase in vandalism in Angus from 174 incidents in April, May, and June in 2021 to 182 in the same months in 2022.

In response, Ch Supt Davidson said: “We are alive to the risks of this (increased crime).

“We’ve already started to see some slight trends in changes to shoplifting, for example, in terms of increased instances of food stuffs and essential items being taken. And that is an indicator of cost of living impact, unfortunately.

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“Equally displacement of people through a variety of circumstances may lead to instances of antisocial behaviour and other crime types.

“We’re working with, not just fire service colleagues and local authority, but on that national basis to ensure we’ve got that understanding around…where we as a policing service and with partners can create best advice, support and approaches into our local communities.

“So I certainly acknowledge the cost of living impact.”

The Scottish Fire & Rescue Service also spoke at the meeting to raise concerns that residents may try to save money by using off-the-grid heating devices, putting themselves and others at greater risk.

When asked about the risk by Monifieth and Sidlaw councillor Heather Doran, Group Commander for Tayside, Scott Gibson said: “I can wholeheartedly say that I personally see it — and the fire service see it — as a real potential risk going forward with the cost of living crisis and how people will heat their homes in the future.”

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“In the coming months and in the very short time scales between now and in the winter, we’re probably looking at a lot more things like open fires, (and) old paraffin heaters coming out of isolation and garages.

“It’s a real risk and it’s a real challenge that people are going to face when it comes to financing heating their homes. We’re trying to continually highlight the risks.”

It comes after inflation reached 11.8% in June.