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Is this right? Should Right-on Ken go now?

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youngmafbog | 14:26 Tue 01st Mar 2011 | News
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In yet another cringe to the culture of liberalism and softness in our legal system, Justice Secretary Ken Clarke and his departmental minions have signalled that shoplifters can avoid jail if they pay for their loot and simply apologise - even though they stole £1.1BILLION worth of goods last year alone.

This soft-on-crime attitude is an insult to the decent and hard-working majority in Britain.

The message from the shoplifters' charter is Carry On Thieving.

If you happen to get caught this time just say you're sorry - and you'll be given a get out of jail free card.

And who will suffer? Shopkeepers AND honest customers facing higher prices to pay for the robbers.

The Sun.

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Ah maybe I am, maybe I'm not R1. I could be a "dope head" OR "CND supporting", then again - I could be neither ! ...work that one out.
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OK Vic, let’s see how my “perceived wisdom” stacks up by considering how the criminal justice system regards the two offences (until Mr Clarke has his way, that is).

The maximum penalty for Theft from a shop is seven years custody. That for speeding is a fine of £1,000 (£2,500 if on a motorway). Leaving aside maximum penalties (not a very appropriate comparison where Theft is concerned because of the wide range of seriousness the offence covers) the “starting point” used by magistrates for shoplifting is a community order, that for speeding (up to 40 in a 30 limit, up to 90 in a 70 limit) is a fine of half a week’s net income. Looking at what actually happens, people can and do receive community orders for shoplifting, they can and do go to prison for shoplifting. They do not do so for speeding however many times they commit the offence (no such disposals are available). Even the fixed penalty (not appropriate for theft in my view) is £80 for theft, £60 for speeding.

Yes some speeders are given the chance to take an awareness course instead of a fine and points. Similarly some shoplifters are given cautions.

I think, Vic, before you start cracking on about the shortcomings of my “perceived wisdom” (which I based solely on the facts outlined above) you might be well served to check out the facts yourself first.

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