“ACT would introduce instant, practical penalties for young people caught shoplifting, stopping rookie offenders before they escalate to more serious offending,” says former Youth Aid Police officer and ACT’s Police spokesperson Chris Baillie.

“ACT has been out listening to New Zealanders and we know that people want consequences for youth offenders.

“I spent years working with young offenders and I know that shoplifting is how a lot of criminals start a spiral in worse offending. You won’t find many ram raiders who didn’t start smaller.

“There is a huge backlog of youth offenders in court. Justice delayed is justice denied. We need swifter action.

“ACT would introduce an infringement notice offence for shoplifting, giving police the power to deal with offences on the spot.

“Punishments can include fines, as well as performing community services such as picking up litter, cleaning graffiti or volunteering at a community group.

“This would mean instant practical penalties connected to the crime. If they’re caught shoplifting on a Friday, they could be cleaning graffiti that Saturday morning.

“We issue infringement notices for speeding. If everyone had to go to court for every offence no one would be convicted, and everyone would speed.

“Kids need to learn that there are consequences to their actions - the faster that lesson can be learnt, the less likely they are to reoffend. We hear ya.”

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Chris Baillie