Bira (The British Independent Retailers Association) has welcomed a move by Lord Navnit Dholakia to have damaging clauses regarding shop theft removed from a piece of legislation. Section 176 of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 allows anyone accused of shop theft where the value of the goods is less than £200 to plead guilty by post, which is similar to a parking ticket offence. Navnit has submitted an amendment to the Police and Crime Bill that would seek the removal of this clause.
Navnit reports: “According to figures available from the Home Office, there has been an overall increase in retail theft of 19.1% between 2014-2018, compared to an increase of 4.96% between 2010-2014. This is no surprise. Section 176 of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 has massively reduced the deterrent to theft and the punishment an offender can expect, with many savvy criminals exploiting the situation to steal with virtual impunity.”
He continues: “Bira reports in its members’ surveys that there has been a disproportionate increase in this type of crime, and a negative impact on their businesses. Removal of this piece of legislation will send a signal to those that perpetrate shop theft. You will be prosecuted. Your actions do matter, and you will be held to account.”
Andrew Goodacre, Bira ceo adds: “Our members are already under pressure. They work on small margins, on the frontline, and need to be protected. At the moment, they are left to the mercy of thieves who use loopholes in the current law to get away with crimes that can destroy livelihoods. This has to stop, and we welcome the move by Lord Dholakia to make this happen.”
Top: Lord Navnit Dholakia quotes Bira survey, and says there must be changes to legislation.