A BOBBY claims crime on his beat has halved because cushy benefits mean crooks no longer need to rob people.
PC Nick Hubbard said the drop on his patch mirrored falling crime rates for the whole of his force.
He said of the local villains: "Years ago they would merely have been in receipt of some distinctly ungenerous unemployment benefit." Now they get "hundreds of pounds a month". Writing in cops' magazine Police Review he stressed: "These men are not unusual - there are millions of claimants like this."
PC Hubbard, 50, a policeman for 27 years, told how two former petty criminals he interviewed last week at their shared Nottingham home were typical of the new breed.
They were potential witnesses to an assault. Both were in their 30s and appeared healthy. The PC said: "I asked the first for his occupation and he said, 'I'm on the sick, mate'. I asked the other how he filled his days and he said, quite matter-of-factly, 'I don't work. I'm his carer'.
"They have free taxis to the shops and to the doctors. In fact the only thing it appears they do pay for is their food, fags, and booze.
"They need plenty of the latter, as their 'disability' is apparently their alcoholism."
Disability benefits meant they paid just £2 a week rent.
PC Hubbard went on: "Both had minor convictions but their offending appeared to have stopped. It seemed they no longer needed to be involved in criminal behaviour."
Crimes on his Edwards Lane patch in Nottingham - which includes a council estate - have fallen from 517 a year in 2006/7 to 280 in 2010/11.
Meanwhile the Nottinghamshire force as a whole has seen offences hit a 30-year low.
Last night chiefs stressed the PC's views were not necessarily theirs - and that his article also pointed to more effective neighbourhood policing and management of offenders.
A spokesman said the fall in the number of crimes was "thanks to the dedication, professionalism and community focus of officers like PC Hubbard".