Sometime I think they want to get caught. Case in point. We were called in as back up by Operation Bumblebee who’d set up a fake fencing operation to catch burglars and shoplifters.
This is where you set up in a shop front or a market barrow and spread the word around that you’re willing to pay cash for stuff that fell off the back of a lorry – no questions asked. Then when the likely lads come wandering in you take their picture, you tag what they bring as evidence against them and check it against your register of stolen goods. Then either you arrest them then and there or you follow them home and upset their whole family (usually by arresting the whole family). This kind of operation is a firm favourite of CID officers up and down the country because a) you get to sit on your padded CID backside and let the criminals come to you and b) it gives you a really favourable spike in your clear up statistics.
I found myself guarding two of these sad little statistics and we got chatting. They said that they thought there was something iffy about the whole thing because the prices were too good. So I asked them why, if they thought that, did they come into the shop? They said, because the prices were so good they had to risk it.
I told Lesley about it and she said a) why didn’t I take down that conversation for use in evidence later and b) all criminals are stupid. If they weren’t, she said, police wouldn’t be able to catch them.