Today ( 28/10/19) the Government has responded to a petition to ‘stamp out tool theft with the introduction of tighter regulation & greater fines‘ which currently has over 30,220 signatures.
The Government responded by saying:
“The Theft Act 1968 includes robust measures for dealing with crimes of theft and handling stolen goods, including tool theft. The Act provides a maximum penalty of seven years’ imprisonment for theft and a maximum penalty of fourteen years’ imprisonment for handling stolen goods.
Also, the act provides powers to tackle the threat of people going equipped to steal, with a maximum penalty of three years’ imprisonment. Therefore, the Government has no plans to amend existing legislation, including introducing minimum fines for theft offences, at this time.”
The Government also stated that it works alongside the police to understand better the buying and selling journey for a range of goods to inform what more can be done to tackle the stolen goods market. It said it will continue to build on this and work with key partners such as product manufacturers, security companies and representatives from the insurance industry to make goods ‘harder to steal, harder to sell’; and encouraging the public to mark and register their property.
It continued to say:
“We are aware of the availability of devices that can be used to bypass vehicle security to gain entry. There are legitimate reasons for people owning such devices or other tools to help themselves or others get back into their vehicles when they have locked themselves out. While there may be a risk that criminals will use such equipment, the evidence pointing to the use of such devices in vehicle-related theft is limited and anecdotal, typically identified during the arrest or subsequent searches of a suspected offender.
However, we understand that the use of such devices is a concern. That is why we are working with partners to review whether further measures are required to stop devices that may be used to compromise vehicle security falling into criminals’ hands, and on 21 March we welcomed the launch of security ratings by Thatcham Research to help consumers better understand how vulnerable new cars are to theft.”
The Government finished its statement by saying:
“That consequential financial harm and the impact of theft on a business are factors which will be taken into consideration by the courts when assessing the harm suffered by the victim or others. Victims of crime have the right to make a Victim Personal Statement (VPS) to explain in their own words how a crime has affected them, whether physically, emotionally, financially or in any other way. This is always passed to the court. Similarly, businesses can provide an Impact Statement for Business (ISB) to set out impact of the crime. It does not have to be limited to the direct cost of the crime and can include wider impacts such as staff morale and reputational damage.
The court will pass what it judges to be the appropriate sentence, having regard to all the circumstances of the offence and of the offender. This will include taking into account, so far as the court considers it appropriate, the impact of the offence on the victim as set out in a VPS or ISB.”