Lifestyle & Belief

Cars, dogs, pot plants... British police reveal what thieves steal from police stations


Would you steal these officers' riot shields? Some people would (and did).


Carl De Souza

Police usually encourage victims of crime to report the incident, but it seems officers in Britain have kept remarkably quiet about thefts amounting to hundreds of thousands of pounds – from their own police stations.

Now, in response to a Freedom of Information request by the UK Press Association, police across the country were obliged to reveal everything that's gone missing over the past five years.

The items range from the valuable – patrol cars, bicycles, computers – to the bizarre, including milk, a pot plant, toilet paper and an unwritten parking ticket, according to the UKPA. Worryingly, uniforms, handcuffs, riot shields and a battering ram were also on the list. And you have to wonder how thieves made off with dogs, a wheelbarrow, a sword or a tea cart.

Many of the losses were small individually, but taken together they added up to hundreds of thousands of pounds, the Daily Mail reported. Police in Essex, for example, lost £1,000 ($1,500) worth of ink cartridges. Furthermore, the Mail said, the figures show that "an average of nearly one police station or patrol car in England and Wales is broken into or firebombed every day."

Campaigners for more efficient public spending expressed their concern at the thefts. Emma Boon of the Taxpayers' Alliance told the BBC:

"The list of stolen items is truly astonishing and taxpayers will worry that police giving out crime prevention advice can't seem to avoid being robbed themselves.

"Thefts from forces cost taxpayers money and all this equipment adds up to a big bill that could be reduced."