Home U.S. NEWS Britain has become a nation of shoplifters

Britain has become a nation of shoplifters

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Britain has become a nation of shoplifters

The time has come when shop owners have to pay the police to investigate thefts in their stores. Ten of the country’s biggest retailers are funding a new operation called Project Pegasus, which will compare CCTV images of crimes committed against the national police database.

The plan will cost around £600,000 and the aim is to create a list of the most common shoplifters, which will then be distributed to retailers and police forces. Police Minister Chris Philp said the proposal represents a “zero tolerance plan to tackle shoplifting”, but this only applies if something is done with the information. One of the greatest incentives for criminal behavior is the knowledge that it can be committed with impunity.

Thefts of items worth £200 or less from shops have been virtually decriminalized for years. Extrajudicial disposals are now the most frequently used approach to combat so-called “low-value theft”. Offenders are being fined less than the value of goods, yet losses to stores hit £1bn between 2021 and 2022, said the British Retail Consortium, which reported a 27 per cent rise in thefts in 10 of Britain’s biggest cities .

Branch managers are willing to pay for a database – but for what purpose? Unless perpetrators are arrested, charged, prosecuted and punished, talk of “zero tolerance” is meaningless.

While a CCTV database can be created by support staff, tracking must be carried out by overstretched uniformed officers and a court system that is on the verge of collapse. Since most shoplifters are repeat offenders whose imprisonment would make the streets much safer, their prosecution needs to be expedited.

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