Tuesday, 20 November 2007

A shocking failure on shoplifting

A report out today shows that Britain has topped the EU table for shoplifting with more than £1.5bn worth of goods being stolen per year. Sadly, I am not at all surprised. A few years ago, the Government decided to extend the fixed penalty notice system to include shoplifting as a way of fiddling the figures on crime but without any thought on whether a fixed penalty notice provided any sort of deterrent. Retailers at the time were opposed to the proposals but were simply ignored and now today’s figures confirm their doubts. One of the main reasons for a notice not preventing low level crime is that the payment rates are very low – only half get paid within the 21 days required and each unpaid one costs £91 to enforce.

Shoplifting is not a victimless crime – we all end up paying higher prices for our goods as a result of theft – and it is quite clear that the current system is not working. I am horrified by this report – and I hope that the Government feels embarrassed and ashamed when it sits in a room with their European colleagues. What we need is a proper system of justice which is working effectively on all levels of crime – something we certainly don’t have under this Government.

1 comment:

Cllr John Ward said…

Agreed that shoplifting is not victimless — we each pay a pound from our own pocket every three days to cover its cost (£120 per year).

Although it is not as serious as, say, murder, it should not be dismissed. I know: I worked in retail (Asda) for a few years, before council work became so busy that I had to give it up(!) That was a very illuminating time…