Shoplifting Quota £49.99 per year
A report in today's Birmingham Mail indicates that if someone shoplifts less than £50 they will only get a caution if either it is the first offence during a year or otherwise the first offence.
This shows the problems with cautions. If we are serious about trying to get someone off an addiction for cocaine and/or heroin then we should be looking at treatment orders for possession. Cautions should only be used when it seems quite clear that the offender is unlikely to offend again.
With shoplifting we should be looking for some form of non-custodial sentance rather than merely saying it does not matter. The consequences of the current system is that there are thresholds below which "the system" does not care.
I do not hold either the CPS or the Police reponsible for this. This is driven by Home Office targets and guidelines. It is that which needs to change.