The number of penalties issued for shop theft under £100 has significantly declined over the past 10 years, according to newly published data from the Ministry of Justice

The statistical bulletin covering the year ending June 2019 found a 95% decline since 2009 from 49,445 penalty notice issues for shop theft offences under £100 to 2,279.

Penalty notices or out-of-court disposals are the most commonly used approach when dealing with shop theft offenders. 

ACS chief executive James Lowman claimed the system has “failed”. He said: “The policy of giving fixed penalty notices to shop thieves – relegating these offences to the status of a parking fine – has failed. 

Shop theft penalties fall 95% in 10 years

“Not only has this approach prevented proper interventions to deter future offences and support perpetrators with addiction and other problems, but the police are now saying that this system isn’t workable.” 

The comments come after private security firm My Local Bobby announced its own prosecution unit after the organisation blamed the police for failing to reprimand offenders. The organisation is staffed by former Metropolitan Police officers.

The newly formed team on shoplifting, pickpockets, low-level assaults and drug dealing are able to prosecute offences. A test case against an alleged shoplifter brought by the company is underway. 

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