Labour plans crackdown on retail crime

Labour has pledged to introduce new laws to tackle retail crime

Labour leader Keir Starmer

The Labour party has committed to getting tougher on the ‘epidemic’ of shoplifting gangs through introducing new laws for attacking a shopworker.

At the Labour party conference in Liverpool yesterday (10 October), shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said that a new Labour government would ban repeat offenders from town centres and high streets, introduce 13,000 more neighbourhood police officers and PCSOs to patrol the streets, and end the ‘£200 threshold’ for investigating incidents of theft.

In 2014, a law change was introduced meaning anyone charged with the theft of items under £200 did not need to attend court.

Cooper added that the party stands with retailers and shopworkers with a new law and tougher sentences for attacks on shopworkers “because everyone has a right to feel safe at work”.

The Labour party also demonstrated its stance on tackling shoplifters last week at  the Conservative party conference in Manchester. After policing minister Chris Philp encouraged shop workers to make ‘citizen’s arrests’ on shoplifters, Labour politician and shadow policing minister Alex Norris responded that his comments were “inviting more violence against shop workers”.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Effective penalties are a vital part of tackling retail crime, and something we have long campaigned for. To get to the point where courts are actually in a position to use these penalties, we need the police to investigate every incident and pursue those who abuse and intimidate shopworkers and retailers.”

Retailers call for ‘urgent action’ on soaring crime rates

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) also welcomed Labour’s plans to clamp down on shoplifting.

Chief executive of BRC Helen Dickinson said: “With more than 850 incidents of violence or abuse every single day, we need action to protect our retail colleagues.

“We welcome the Labour Party and the shadow home secretary’s commitment to introduce a new law to protect retail workers from violence and abuse.

“We need a standalone offence to improve the visibility of the issue, so that police can allocate appropriate resources to the challenge, and to act as a deterrent to would-be offenders.”

The ACS Crime Report revealed that there were over 1.1 million incidents of theft recorded over the last year, with 2/3 of those committing theft being repeat offenders. Eighty-seven percent of convenience store colleagues reported that they faced verbal abuse over the last year.

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