Home Secretary Priti Patel led the government's coronavirus press briefing yesterday and one particular announcement has confused and amused many.
Essentially bragging abour lower crime rates, she said:
Car crime, burglary and shoplifting are all lower than the same time last year.
It seems like a strange point to make given the circumstances... the fact that certain crimes have decreased since lockdown seems obvious, and probably doesn't have any bearing on any action taken specifically in relation to law enforcement but rather to the fact that we're all in lockdown.
Shoplifting in particular was the one people were the most baffled by. After all, the vast majorities of shops are shut and those that are open are only letting a handful of people in at a time.
Are we supposed to be happy? Proud? Believe crime has been permanently stopped somehow? Refuse to come out of lockdown in case shoplifting returns?
Shoplifting for essential goods is often due to desperation, and poverty will likely increase as lockdown goes on, with more people being furloughed or unable to find work.
Another common reason for shoplifting is substance abuse and other mental health problems. What is the government doing to address these heightened concern in very troubling times? Not much at all.
All in all, it seems like a bizarre point to bring up. And people were quick to remind her of this.
It's only the second time the home secretary has been rolled out for the daily briefing since social distancing began last month. Her last appearance was also subject to scrutiny after she got confused when reading the number of coronavirus tests that have been carried out.