Dominic Grieve: Economic hit of coronavirus could raise crime

Friday, March 20, 2020

Former Attorney General Dominic Grieve tells talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer how the Covid-19 outbreak could affect crime rates in the United Kingdom. These are his views and not talkRADIO’s.

I don't see immediate signs that law and orders breaking down at all.

Indeed I rather suspect that we may find that the crime rate has gone down, partly because of the disruption to people's normal patterns of behaviour.

Clearly the real problem is the fact that we are experiencing massive social and economic dislocation and it's only really been going now for 10 days - how long that's sustainable without doing irreparable economic damage is a very difficult issue to know the answer to - and I don't.

The government’s pouring a lot of money into the potential of bailing out business, though otherwise large numbers of small and medium sized-businesses are going to go under. It's unsustainable.

And so, we are passing through an invisible wall into a completely different environment.

Now, doubtless, when it all comes to an end the economy will pick up in a sort of great boom because there will suddenly be new social activity to be responded to but there will be a lot of casualties along the way.

I think my anxiety is not that the streets go quiet and the police are diverted and suddenly there's going to be a surge in crime, that's not the issue.

The issue that worries me is how, at the end of this, do we pick society up and will there be the number of casualties who will be so badly affected economically that that may contribute to a rise in the crime rate?

I think that’s what we should be focusing on and in truth this is unprecedented so nobody really knows how a society picks itself up from this.

The only societies which are comparable in terms of economic dislocation are ones that have been completely crushed by wartime, even the Second World War didn't do this to the United Kingdom.

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