MPs debate law on shop crime

26 June, 2007

The British Retail Consortium is hoping a Commons debate will force the government to make a u-turn on plans to weaken penalties for retail crime.

The debate, due to take place tomorrow, follows an Early Day Motion signed by 68 MPs who are against proposals by the Sentencing Advisory Panel to change the law surrounding shop crime.

Proposals include removing or capping custodial sentences for shop theft and instead giving out fixed penalty fines to offenders in a bid to ease over-crowding in prisons.

However, retailers fear the early release plan will leave retail crime victims subject to continued abuse by persistent offenders.

BRC director general Kevin Hawkins said: “This debate is a welcome opportunity to stress to MPs that thieves increasingly believe they can act with impunity in shops. More and more shop staff are suffering abuse and violence, particularly when trying to stop shoplifters.

“Shopworkers should not have to pay the price for the government’s failure to plan prison capacity. Jail is not a panacea for retail crime but it must remain as the ultimate penalty for violent and persistent offenders.”




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