The government's plans to introduce Acceptable Behaviour Contracts (ABC's) for shoplifters really must stick in the throat of ordinary law abiding citizens, but for shopkeepers, it must be absolutely sickening.
I agree that efforts should be made to stop the criminalisation of first time offenders, particularly teenagers who may have succumbed to peer pressure or be involved in some sort of appalling initiation which involves stealing something. However, the government seem to want to introduce ABC's for those who are not first time offenders, letting them off with a slap on the wrist and a promise from the offender that he or she wont do it again. This is not going to work.
The government needs to take a grip of the situation and realise that shoplifting is, in the main, committed by people with a severe drugs problem and it does not just affect the perpetrator or the shop owner. In many cases it can lead to violent assaults on staff who challenge the shoplifter. With the average shop theft being £150, it is about time that those serious repeat offenders are given a sentence or a fine (that is enforced) that befits the crime.
A friend of mine recently did 38 mph in a 30 zone. After 40 years of speeding free motoring, he was hit with a £60 fine. No caution, no ABC, a straight fine. had he gone shoplifting, under government plans, he would almost certainly have received no fine at all.
That can't be right. Can it ?