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Theft: Sentencing

Justice written question – answered on 13th June 2011.

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Photo of Christopher Pincher Christopher Pincher Conservative, Tamworth

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice

(1) what the average length of custodial sentence for (a) armed robbery and (b) shoplifting was in the latest period for which figures are available;

(2) how many convictions for shoplifting there were in (a) Staffordshire and (b) England and Wales in each year since 2005.

Photo of Crispin Blunt Crispin Blunt Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice) (Prisons and Probation)

Defendants sentenced and the average custodial sentence length for shoplifting and robbery offences in England and Wales, 2010 can be viewed in table 1. Data held centrally on the Court Proceedings Database do not include information about the circumstances behind each case other than that which may be identified from a statute. It is therefore not possible to identify from robbery offences where the defendant was sentenced for armed robbery.

Defendants found guilty of shoplifting in Staffordshire courts and England and Wales, 2005 to 2010 can be viewed in table 2.

Table 1: Defendants sentenced and the average custodial sentence length (months) for shoplifting and robbery at all courts, England and Wales, 2010 (1, 2)
Offence Sentenced Other sentences Immediate custody Average custodial sentence length (3)
Shoplifting(4) 78,867 65,272 13,595 1.9
Robbery(5) 8,514 3,568 4,946 34.5
(1) The figures given in the table relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences it is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe. (2) Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used. (3) Excludes life and indeterminate sentences. (4) Stealing from shops and stalls (shoplifting)—Theft Act 1968. (5) Robbery and assaults with intent to rob—Theft Act 1968. Source: Justice Statistics Analytical Services in the Ministry of Justice.
Table 2: Defendants found guilty of shoplifting (1) in Staffordshire courts and England and Wales, 2005-10 (2, 3)
2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
Staffordshire 1,073 1,024 1,131 1,198 1,123 1,132
England and Wales 64,076 58,536 62,563 68,335 72,909 79,165
(1 )Stealing from shops and stalls (shoplifting)—Theft Act 1968. (2) The figures given in the table relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences it is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe. (3) Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used. Source: Justice Statistics Analytical Services in the Ministry of Justice.

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