Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Shoplifting is as easy as ABC - Acceptable Behaviour Contract.

Fixed penalty notice, shopliftingA short while ago I posted the following:

I'm off out to do a bit of shoplifting, apparently you only get an £80 fine and you don't even get a criminal record! Thanks to the introduction of fixed penalty notices, if I nick anything worth more than £80, I'm going to make a profit even if I get caught now and then. What's even better, I can do it again and again and again without an official mark against my character, never mind going to prison, bonus or what!

Alan Gordon, vice-chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, says: "Let’s look at the reality of fixed penalty notices. Currently a third go unpaid and those who receive them get no criminal conviction. The Sentencing Advisory Panel suggestion that shoplifters could avoid jail no matter how many times they commit the offence is a disgrace. It sends out the wrong message at a time when the police and the public alike are sick to death of a criminal justice system which is far too lenient on those who break the law. The term shoplifting is misleading. It is stealing, and stealing is a crime and should be dealt with as such. The ultimate deterrent to any criminal is a prison sentence. We need more prisons, not a short term fix which will only encourage crime, not tackle it.”

Fixed penalty notices, what a joke. 32,000 notices were handed out last year, which is a massive increase on previous years. And this is supposed to be a deterrent? What this is, is an invitation to walk into any shop and steal what you fancy. Idiots.

Now it seems that if you promise to be a good boy or girl you will have the fine written off! This is where I pause from typing to turn the air blue. Please someone tell me that this report from BBC News is some kind of sick joke.

If the offender (Thief) agrees to be bound by an Acceptable Behaviour Contract (ABC) they will be told that they have been very naughty and get a slapped wrist. Actually I'm exaggerating, if they were to get a slapped wrist the officer involved would be sacked and had up for assault.

Shadow Home Secretary David Davis said: "It is bad enough such serious crimes are effectively being punished with a glorified parking ticket. Now we learn the government won't even bother to collect the fine."

A Home Office spokesman said: "Deferred PNDs sit alongside Acceptable Behaviour Contracts. They are both tools for police and local authorities to use to promote a change in an individual's behaviour. Breaching the terms of an ABC can have serious consequences. The next step may be the issuing of an ASBO for example." Oh no! not the dreaded ASBO? What are these people on. I think the home office should follow the armed forces example and carry out random drug tests.

Of the 3,500 Asbos (Antisocial behaviour orders) handed out in England and Wales in 2004-05 (a 60 per cent rise on the figures for 2003-2004) 55% are broken. Each Asbo issued costs the tax payer £3100, which means, of the £10,850,000 spent on Asbo administration £5,967,500 is being wasted.The NAO (National Audit Office) questions the effectiveness of the policy, saying that more than half of all antisocial behaviour is carried out by: "a hard core of perpetrators for whom interventions had limited impact". The NAO figures show that the average offender breaks the conditions of their Asbo four times, with one offender breaking the conditions of his order 25 times.

The chairman of the Commons Public Accounts Committee, Edward Leigh, said: "Instead of being startled into bringing their behaviour into check, too often offenders respond to an Asbo by sneering at the authorities and continue to make life miserable for the rest of their community. We're not talking about high jinks from a few mischievous youngsters. We're talking about yobs whose persistent criminal activity and intimidation are making our city centres no-go areas."

There you go then, if a Thief steals from a shop they could be fined £80. If they promise to be good they will get an ABC and will not have to pay that fine. If they fail to be good (and statistics show that they won't be) they could get an ASBO, which are about as much use as a snooze button on a smoke alarm.

If your are caught thieving you should go to court, and if you are found guilty you should go to prison. As they have proven in New York, you cannot commit crime while you are in prison. This simple rule of law enforcement has cut crime in New York by over 50%. It's not hard is it?

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lady macleod said...

a very persuasive argument. Interesting blog.

kristofer said...

You can commit crime when your in prison...

Drugs, murder, rape, the list goes on.

Anyway this article fails to take into account the cost of keeping prisoners in prison, if every shoplifter was sent to prision it would cost the tax payer billions, as opposed to the relativly low cost of on the spot fines.