Saturday, 21 July 2012

As Usual, The Justice System Lags Behind…

Perhaps in an effort to resolve the crisis highlighted in Longrider’s post on the subject of extra-legal dealings with persistent shoplifters, the authorities are giving themselves a pat on the back for accomplishing… well, something:
Luke Carroll has racked up more than 50 convictions, chiefly for shoplifting, since 2005. Now, police have obtained a two-year anti-social behaviour order (Asbo) barring him from the areas he has targeted.
Well, hurrah! But I wonder how many convictions he would have had, if shops weren’t routinely given the runaround by the justice system?
Officers are distributing posters outlining the terms of the order – which also bars him from St George's Retail Park on the outskirts of the city centre. If he does breach the order, Carroll (28), who lives on the Saffron Lane estate, will be arrested and possibly jailed for contempt of court.
Or possibly let off again.
Shopkeepers welcomed the police's decision to seek the order. One said: "He's an absolute nuisance and he's so brazen about his thieving.
"To give him his due, he's not at all aggressive like some of the other regulars, but the fact remains he has taken, or tried to take, a lot of stock from us over the years."
And there’s nothing to stop him simply going elsewhere, to take a lot of stock off someone else, is there?
Sergeant Nicola Preston, of city centre police, said: "He's brazen – he walks into shops, hangs around and walks out with goods under his coat."
"We have had to go to this level now because we have a duty to protect the community, particularly retailers, from his constant shoplifting," she said.
"It won't solve all the retailers' problems because clearly there are other shoplifters, but we are looking at taking similar action against other prolific offenders."
Why not just build more prisons, and make sure that the sentence for shoplifting is so severe, they don’t get a chance to rack up so many convictions?

8 comments:

MtAngry61 said...

Why not just build more prisons, and make sure that the sentence for shoplifting is so severe, they don’t get a chance to rack up so many convictions?

Because the direct cost of incarceration falls on the government (though ultimately all taxpayers) whereas the direct costs of shoplifting fall on the businesses affected.

It's also much harder to build prisons (cost, NIMBYism, antipathy from the Justice department) than to give out ASBOs & suspended sentences.

Anonymous said...

The offences outlined are theft/shoplifting. Once the ASBo kicks in, if he goes into a shop, he is entering as a trespasser. If he then steals, he is committing the offence of burglary - a much more serious offence with a much higher penalty. Before ASBOs came out, we used to deal with shoplifters in this way; telling them they were banned from a particular shop (the shop would provide a notice to this effect to be given to the offender) and that any subsequent offences would be treated as burglary. After a couple of well-publicised 'send him down' results the spate of shop lifting reduced. Once the ASBOs came in, they were treated as badges of honour and CPS were reluctant to follow the burglary route as this could result in (expensive) Crown Court appearances.
Penseivat

John Pickworth said...

"... we have a duty to protect the community, particularly retailers"

Why retailers? Are they a vulnerable group now? Has there been a Steven Lawrence type enquiry that identified them as being 'particularly' needy of extra police protection?

James Higham said...

ASBO? Transportation to Australia more like.

mister_choos said...

@ JP Yes I believe the Met has been found to be institutionally shopist.

Anonymous said...

What is needed here is locked metal mittens with a GPS, that he can only unlock and take off when within 7 meters of the locking device without breaking his ASBO (ie, inside his house).

Anonymous said...

Anon at 23.06, when electronic tags were introduced, a colleague of mine suggested that if those people with tags wander more than 20 metres from where they should be, a small explosive charge blows their foot off. They will tend to do this only twice, at the most. For this, he received an official warning. No sense of humour some people.
Penseivat

JuliaM said...

" Once the ASBOs came in, they were treated as badges of honour.."

*sigh*

"Why retailers? "

Yes, I wondered that!

"... a colleague of mine suggested that if those people with tags wander more than 20 metres from where they should be, a small explosive charge blows their foot off."

I like that idea!