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Government Unveils Stringent Measures to Tackle Retail Crime

Prime Minister's bold initiative aims to protect UK high streets and clamp down on repeat offenders with tougher punishments.

In a significant move to curb retail crime and safeguard high street businesses, the Prime Minister has announced stringent measures targeting serial or abusive shoplifters. Under the new action plan, assaulting a retail worker will be classified as a standalone criminal offence, signaling a firm stance against such unacceptable behaviour.

Perpetrators of these offences could face severe penalties, including imprisonment for up to 6 months, unlimited fines, and bans from revisiting the establishments where their crimes occurred. Moreover, criminal behaviour orders will restrict them from accessing specific premises, with breaches of these orders carrying a maximum prison sentence of 5 years. In cases involving severe assault, such as causing grievous bodily harm with intent, offenders may face life imprisonment.

This decisive step follows extensive campaigning by Matt Vickers MP and major retailers, Catch a Thief UK, UDSAW, RAC and others highlighting the urgent need for stronger measures to safeguard retail staff. The government's commitment to protecting high streets extends further with plans to implement electronic tagging for serial offenders, enabling authorities to monitor their movements closely.

The introduction of electronic tags will serve as a tangible reminder to repeat offenders of the consequences of their actions. These measures aim to deter further offences and ensure compliance with community orders. Offenders found guilty of assaulting staff three times or convicted of shoplifting on three separate occasions will be required to wear tags as part of their community sentence.

Richard Fuller MP emphasised the government's resolve to address retail crime, acknowledging the ongoing impact of theft, abuse, and violence on shopkeepers and workers. While crime rates have seen a significant decline since 2010, instances of retail-related offences persist, necessitating robust intervention.

In addition to legislative reforms, the government will collaborate with a police force to pilot a tailored package of community sentencing measures. This initiative aims to equip judges with effective tools to combat high levels of shoplifting, reinforcing the message that repeat criminal behaviour will not be tolerated.

The government's comprehensive approach underscores its commitment to protecting businesses, employees, and communities from the scourge of retail crime. As these measures take effect, the UK can look forward to safer, more secure high streets for all.


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