Benefit reforms blamed for a spike in offending in Darlington


Benefit reforms caused a spike in offending in a North-East town, according to police offers.

A rise in shop thefts and burglaries of garages and sheds in Darlington was a consequence of benefit sanctioning, according to PC Dave McKenna.

Many prolific offenders say sanctions – when benefits are restricted or completely stopped as a result of adjudged non-compliance on the part of the recipient – caused them to commit more offences.

PC McKenna, of the town’s integrated offender management unit, said:

“This kind of offending is mainly linked to drugs and substance misuse but sanctions are hitting and it’s a concern.

“Because these people often lead chaotic lifestyles, they struggle to meet contracts set down by the Department for Work and Pensions – they’re not likely to be able to get online to do job searches and they really need to be stable before employment.

“Offences like shoplifting go…

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