According to Met Police data between January 2017 and September this year shopkeepers called police 2,259 times about attempts to steal their wares.
But of these reports, 2,993 or 85 per cent were either closed with no suspect identified, are still under investigation or have not been updated since the original report.So are the police useless? Why, perish the thought! It's just that they are starved of funds, of course.
A Met Police spokeswoman said: "The Met is under various pressures including financial challenges and increasing demand.
"As a result we are having to take decisions about how we prioritise our resources.
"Under the Met's new General Investigations Policy, she said, "Lower level, higher volume offences such as shoplifting, car crime and criminal damage will have the policy applied to them to decide what level of investigation is appropriate.
"With the pressure on our resources it is not proportionate for our officers to spend a considerable amount of time looking into a low-value theft offence."But plenty of time and resources to question four year olds about taking pictures of themselves. Or pursue decades-old non-crimes whenever some nutter comes up with them.
According to police data, there have been 665 reported thefts from supermarkets across Barking and Dagenham and 185 from shopping centres. More than 400 incidents were also reported in petrol stations and parking areas.
The worst-hit road in the whole of the borough was East Street in Barking, where 157 shoplifting-related crimes have been reported in less than two years. This was followed by Whalebone Lane South with 49 and Green Lane in Becontree, which police were called to on no fewer than 44 occasions.And these places will soon become no-go areas. We know this. It's been proven.
Perhaps the shopkeepers and residents might like to consider asking for a rebate on their police precept?