Poverty 'not linked to crime': Police Federation annual conference

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CRIME is not linked to deprivation, the Police Federation decided yesterday.

After several speakers claimed that criminals were depraved not deprived, the federation's annual conference in Brighton rejected a call to press the Government to act against economic causes of crime.

Inspector Ian Lock from Avon and Somerset Police had said that the Government's persistent refusal to acknowledge links between crime and poverty meant the police were making little headway against crime.

'We are not naive enough to believe deprivation is the sole cause of crime but a cause it surely is . . . We must send a clear message that no matter how difficult it may be, government must accept the link exists and take positive action,' he told the conference.

Inspector Marie Normington from Cleveland Police said drink, drugs and peer pressure all caused crime. She said it was the product of a 'greedy, envious and uncaring generation' and called for better parental guidance.

Roger Turley, a Thames Valley officer, said he would support the motion if burglars stole for the price of a loaf instead of feeding their vices. Car thieves stole for kicks not to drive to the Job Centre, he said. Deprivation should not be an excuse for crime, which he linked to greed, corruption and lack of respect.

However, Sergeant Mike Bennett of the Metropolitan Police said police had a 'right and a duty' to voice the concerns of Mr and Mrs Average.

He dismissed the fact that experts couldn't agree deprivation caused crime. 'Experts designed the Titanic,' he said. He cited a police custody officer who was also a Tory councillor who said two- thirds of all prisoners arrested in affluent Kensington, west London, were unemployed.