Today’s media coverage of Home Office interest includes stories on laws against shoplifting, ‘boomerang’ fire bosses, and the police response to cannabis possession.
Laws against shoplifters
According to minutes reportedly seen by The Telegraph, retailers have warned the Home Office that shoplifters are exploiting the law to steal items under £200.
The Retail Crime Steering Group claims the Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 allows the police to no longer attend reports of routine shoplifting unless £200 has been stolen or there is a threat of violence.
The Government’s response to this story can be found below.
A Government spokesperson said:
Shoplifting is not a victimless crime. It causes cost and disruption to businesses, as well as damage to communities and consumers.
The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 allows shoplifting offences, where the value of the goods stolen does not exceed £200, to be prosecuted in the Magistrates court. But this does not diminish the seriousness of the crimes, which should be reported to the police and dealt with accordingly.
Sentencing decisions are a matter for the independent courts, who take into account the full facts of each case.
The Telegraph reports on a new announcement from the Minister of Policing and Fire setting out plans to outlaw the practice of “boomerang bosses” in the fire service.
According to the piece, some senior officers have received lump sums from pension pots, only to go on to be rehired as temporary employees exempt from pension contributions.
The Minister’s statement can be found below.
Minister for Policing and the Fire Service, Nick Hurd, said:
This Government is reforming fire and rescue services to ensure they are more accountable and effective in performing their vital duties.
The practice of boomerang bosses is not acceptable, which is why we have taken action to rule it out.
It undermines confidence in the fire and rescue services, who do such a brilliant job keeping us safe and gives the impression there is one rule for file and rank firefighters and another for those at the top.
Cannabis custody costs
According to The Times, it has cost the taxpayer £13.5million to hold 30,000 people arrested for cannabis possession in police custody over the past five years.
This figure comes from Freedom of Information responses from 26 police forces, which also show that over 6,000 people were held in custody for more than 12 hours for the possession of cannabis last year.
The Liberal Democrats claim these figures demonstrate a “heavy handed” approach to the Class B drug.
The Home Office’s response to this story can be found below.
A Home Office spokesperson said:
There is a substantial body of scientific and medical evidence to show that cannabis is a harmful drug that can damage people’s mental and physical health. It is a Class B drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, and this Government has no plans to decriminalise it.
It is an operational decision for chief officers and Police and Crime Commissioners to determine how forces use their resources.
The new comprehensive provisional police funding settlement for 2018/19 will increase funding by up to £450million across the police system, and enable an increase of up to £270m in funding going directly to PCCs for them and their Chief Constable to spend on local priorities.