ACS calls for tougher sentences for serial shoplifters

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Local shops are calling for a new approach to tackling shop theft after Ministers revealed 78% of those convicted for shoplifting reoffend within a year.

Responding to questions from MPs on Tuesday, Minister for Justice, Crispin Blunt, agreed the figures were unacceptable. He expressed confidence Government plans would lead the number of prisoners serving a short sentence for shop theft to “decrease significantly” from the 12,500 offenders serving jail sentences in 2010.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Shop theft is a serious crime that harms retailer’s livelihoods and has knock on effects for consumers. The rate of reoffending is deeply concerning and retailers want to see action.

“We agree with the Minister about the importance of tackling substance abusers, we also believe more can be done through community pay back to deter offenders and compensate victims.

“There is, however, a point where the only effective sanction is prison and we will continue to press for tough sentences for the worst and most prolific offenders.

ACS is responding to the Ministry of Justice Sentencing consultation and arguing the correct application of out of court penalties by police is essential in tackling shop theft and the retention of custodial sentences for serious and repeat offenders.