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Penalty Notices: Shoplifting

Volume 493: debated on Monday 1 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) with reference to the answer of 17 November 2008, Official Report, column 22W, on penalty notices: shoplifting, what the outcome was of the study of criminal histories and re-offending rates of penalty notice for disorder recipients for shop theft; (276474)

(2) what his latest assessment is of the effectiveness of the penalty notice for disorder scheme for shop theft.

A study of criminal histories and reoffending rates of PND recipients is under way and we aim to publish the findings in late 2009. Provisional, unpublished results from this study show that of a sample of 13,800 juvenile and adult offenders given a penalty notice for disorder (PND) for theft during 2005, 33 per cent. reoffended within 12 months of receiving the PND. This study used data recorded on the police national computer and counted as a “reoffence” any offence committed during the 12-month period that resulted in a conviction or caution.

This estimate cannot be directly compared to the published reoffending rates for three reasons:

it includes offences leading to a caution as well as a conviction whilst the published National Statistics on adult reoffending counts only convictions;

it covers offenders who in general have very different offending backgrounds to those in the published cohorts; which cover offenders discharged from prison and offenders commencing a court order under probation supervision;

it covers both juvenile and adult offenders together, whereas reoffending data is published separately for adults and juveniles.

We are currently reviewing the use of PNDs for retail theft and will inform the House of our conclusions shortly.