Powers of entry for low level shoplifting

12 May 2021

Not reviewed after the date of publication

Question: 

Theft under £200 is charged under Section 176 of the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act and is a summary only offence.

If an allegation of shoplifting had occurred, clearly well below the £200 threshold, and I knew they were on a premises, would I have a power of entry under section 17 of PACE in order to arrest for an indictable offence?

Answer:

As mentioned, low level shoplifting of a value under £200 is treated as a summary offence pursuant to section 176 of the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014.

Section 176 of the Crime and Policing Act inserted section 22A into the Magistrates' Courts Act 1980, to make low-level shoplifting a summary offence.

However, Section 176(6) states that –

'(6) Any reference in the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 to an 'indictable offence' has effect as if it included a reference to low-value shoplifting (as defined in section 22A(3) of the Magistrates' Courts Act 1980).'

As a result of this, low value shoplifting may be treated, for all investigatory purposes, as an indictable offence.

Therefore, low level shoplifting is an indictable offence for the purposes of entry under section 17(1)(b) of PACE.

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