The latest government proposals for tacking anti-social behaviour, shop theft and vandalism have come under fire from the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS). The ACS claims that the guidelines, which recommend cautions and on-the-spot fines rather than court appearances, send out completely the wrong message.
ACS chief executive David Rae said: "This kind of approach undermines confidence in the system and its ability to deter criminals. It further undermines the serious nature of shop crime, vandalism and anti-social behaviour that is a daily fact of life for many retailers and shop workers on the front line."
He also called for clear consultation with the victims of crime on how offenders should be dealt with by the authorities. Lord Falconer, Secretary of State for Constutional Affairs, has suggested that criminals who admit to their guilt and have no previous record should be issued with a caution rather than appearing before a court.