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Shoplifters are not criminals


Posted At: 09 July 2008 12:46 PM
Related Categories: General, Retail Statistics


Persistent shoplifters could avoid jail under rules proposed by the Sentencing Advisory Panel yesterday, a move which has angered many in the industry and that the BRC has labelled ‘ridiculous’.

Shoplifting costs retailers in the UK around £600 million pounds per year and there appear to be no signs of offences decreasing; there were also reports today that Sainsbury’s have started to security tag chickens in some of their stores after a disproportionate rise in shoplifting of the birds!

Figures published last year show that only 51% of people convicted of theft get sent to prison, and this latest move has to be seen as a further effort to keep all but the worst offenders out of our crowded jails. Punishment for smaller crimes like this seem to be becoming less and less severe all the time, and what with last years introduction of a fixed penalty fine smaller than that issued for public dog fouling, you have to wonder how long it will be before shoplifting becomes decriminalized completely.

Edit: On 10th July 2008, Iceland founder Malcolm Walker spoke out about the level of retailer crime on our UK streets stating: ‘"We are plagued with a tidal wave of shoplifting. 50 per cent of the time it turns violent. Our store managers are physically attacked, spat at, assaulted – it's out of control."’ Its interesting to see a response from someone on the front line (well, sort of) for a change as opposed to just the BRC, and it will be interesting to see if any of the suggestions proposed in the above article are taken forward.

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