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NZ First bill to give police power to hand out on the spot fines to shoplifters

New Zealand First are in favour of introducing legislation that will see police be able to hand out on-the-spot fines to shoplifters.

A member's bill submitted by Law and Order spokesperson Darroch Ball is aiming to curb the described 'shoplifting epidemic', estimated to cost retailers over $1 billion in 2017 alone.

A 2017 survey from Retail NZ and Otago University found that retailers did not report 68 per cent of shoplifting, because they did not expect an adequate response from authorities.

"Currently, any formal prosecutions for shoplifting are time-consuming and costly as they must go before the courts, where the only punishments available are either custodial sentences or fines handed down by a judge," Mr Ball said in a statement.

"This bill shortcuts the litany of red tape, going straight to a scheme of proportional fines. It also sends the clear message that offenders will not get away with it."

Police would have the power to hand out a minimum $150 instant fine or a fine of "one and a half times" the value of the goods stolen, whichever is greatest.  

The proposed bill would only allow for two infringements, with a third seeing an offender prosecuted in court.

A police emblem on the sleeve of an officer.
A police emblem on the sleeve of an officer. Source: 1 NEWS


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