Express & Star

'Shoplifters' charter' has led to 36 per cent rise in thefts, says Labour

Shoplifting in the Black Country has risen by 36 per cent over the past year thanks to the Government presiding over a shoplifters' charter, claims Labour.

Labour candidate Sarah Coombes

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said new laws introduced in 2014, to streamline the justice system, meant that police forces were not investigating shoplifting cases of less than £200.

The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 meant that shoplifters accused of stealing goods valued at less than £200 now had the option to plead guilty by post.

The hollowing out of neighbourhood policing across the country had also left town centres vulnerable to crime, she added.

“Our town centres across the country are being plagued by crime," said Miss Cooper.

"From shoplifting to persistent antisocial behaviour, too often high streets just don’t feel safe anymore.

"Labour will crack down on town centre crime, getting tough on shoplifting by scrapping the 'shoplifters’ charter' and allowing police to properly investigate, and putting bobbies bac­­­k on the beat."

The party claims that, nationally, the number of neighbourhood officers and community support officers is down by 10,000 since 2015.

Labour said it would put 13,000 neighbourhood police and PCSOs back on the beat, paid for by ending 'wasteful' contracts in the police by creating a national police savings body.

The party yesterday announced its proposals for small businesses and reviving the high street.

Other proposals included eradicating late payment of invoices to small businesses,and making it easier for small businesses to compete for public contracts.

The party also said it would guarantee small businesses access to essential banking services in their local high stre­­­ets.

Sarah Coombes, Labour’s candidate for West Bromwich, said: "With our first steps for government, the Labour Party will focus on what matters to small businesses to deliver change. Stamping out late payments, ridding our high streets of anti-social behaviour, and creating economic stability."