There has definitely been a switch in life in Britain when you think about the activities and general behaviour of the elderly. Older people are remaining in good health for longer than ever before and there has been a gradual movement with respect to old age. How often have you heard people make comments along the lines of “40s are the new 30s” and £50s are the new 40s” and so on. There is a greater level of focus on what you can achieve, no matter what your age is, and it would be fair to say that pensioners in Britain, are having a bit more fun than pensioners of previous generations.
Recent studies have shown that there has been a big rise in crimes being committed by people aged 60 and over, and these crimes include drink-driving offences, theft and sexual touching. In Nottinghamshire, 446 people of this age group were arrested in 2014, which represented the first rise in four years and an increase of 8% on the arrests made in 2013. Over 100 people over the age of 60 were arrested for assault in 2014, with three of these arrests coming about due to an assault on a police officer. There has been a spate of reasons provided for this rise in crime with some people blaming the economy and austerity.
The Secretary for the Nottingham Pensioners Age Group, David Jones, released a statement, saying; “It sets a bad example to the younger generation and older people should know better than to go around committing crimes. And some of the crimes are very serious. Levels of austerity could well be a factor. People can do some pretty desperate things when they have to. But there is no excuse for it.”
With close to 2,500 people over the age of 60 having been arrested since 2010, it is an area of crime that police forces have been aware of but the sudden spike of crimes being committed by the elderly has caused concern amongst many people.
Drink driving arrests for people of this age group rose to 59, from the total of 49 for 2013. This is something of a concern and it may be that the elderly are no longer to cope with alcohol as much as they used to. There is also the fact that changing legislation and the fact that there is a greater level of focus on drunk driving these days may all have an impact on people no longer knowing what the cut-off point is with respect to alcohol.
The Police and Crime Commissioner for Nottinghamshire, Paddy Tipping, spoke to local media about these figures, saying; “It is probably because young people are brought up understanding the dangers of driving while over the limit. Older people, from a different generation, perhaps struggle with that. What I would also say is that a lot of good work is being done by Nottinghamshire Police and, overall, crime is falling across the county.”
There were 14 arrests for sexual touching for people in this age group in 2014 compared to the 9 arrests in 2013. There were 11 arrests for rape. Some of these charges and arrests may be related to historical offences, which is something that was alluded to by a spokesperson for Nottinghamshire Police. The same spokesperson also said; “Crimes can be committed by someone of any age and the criminal justice system will take appropriate action in each circumstance.”
The focus on crimes by the elderly has also been brought into sharp focus by the fact that three of the ten people arrested in the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit robbery, a crime believed to have been worth around £60m, were aged 67, 74 and 76.
It is not as though age can be taken as an excuse or mitigation for these crimes, which means that the solicitors involved with the case need to prepare fully on the individual allegations and charges. There probably is societal issues that impact on the behaviour of the elderly in the United Kingdom, but these cannot be cited as reasons or excuses for people behaving in an illegal manner.
Andrew Reilly is a freelance writer with a focus on news stories and consumer interest articles. He has been writing professionally for 9 years but has been writing for as long as he can care to remember. When Andrew isn’t sat behind a laptop or researching a story, he will be found watching a gig or a game of football