The Association of Convenience Stores is to meet with the Home Office to discuss the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill, which it argues fails to protect local shops and sends the message that low-value theft is OK.
ACS has been campaigning against a clause that would allow criminals caught stealing up to £200 of goods to plead guilty via post. It said the retail sector was not consulted before the draft Bill was published, and has called for the threshold to be dropped to £100 to bring it more in line with the median value of stolen goods in the sector, which is £40.
The ACS also fears the £200 threshold sends the message that low-value theft is acceptable and victimless, when it is the highest volume crime committed against UK retail. Last week, David Hanson MP urged ministers to cut the threshold to £100, but his call was rejected.
“There was no consultation with the ACS or the BRC before the draft Bill was published,” said ACS public affairs director Shane Brennan. “But the government has made clear that it’s going to push ahead with it, so the next stage is making sure that the impact is not negative for retailers.”