The British Independent Retail Association
welcomes the move by Lord Dholakia to use the current Police and Crime Bill to remove damaging clauses within the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.
Section 176 of the Anti Social Behaviour, Crime
and Policing Act 2014 allows anyone accused of shoplifting that’s valued under £200 to plead guilty by post, as if they had been given a parking ticket. However, Lord Dholakia has now
submitted an amendment to the Police and Crime Bill that would seek the removal of this loophole with immediate effect.
Lord Dholakia said: “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. Small independent retailers, like the members of the British Independent Retail Association report in their 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, CEO of bira commented: “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.”