A month-long crackdown on unpaid fines announced today will go some way to reduce retail crime but should become a more permanent policy.
So says the British Retail Consortium, whose latest annual crime survey highlights a rise in the value of goods stolen from shops, and which is calling for law makers and enforcers to tackle the problem more seriously.
More than 170,000 Penalty Notices for Disorder were issued in England and Wales in 2009, over 48,000 of them for retail theft – but only 51% were paid.
The BRC’s recommendations to reduce retail crime include making PNDs a greater deterrent by ensuring they are properly enforced.
Tom Ironside, the BRC’s director of business and regulation, said: “The Ministry of Justice has proposed a greater use of fines, but for that to work it is crucial they act as an effective deterrent. Letting offenders get away with not paying fines discourages the police and retailers themselves, who need to have faith in the system.
“Retailers would like to see unpaid penalty notices tackled by a national enforcement unit with powers to take money by other means, such as from benefits or salary payments.”
He went on: “This month-long crackdown by the court service is a very positive move and we would welcome efforts to make this approach a more permanent fixture.”