The Sentencing Council has published a revised guideline for judges and magistrates on the sentencing of theft offences. The guideline, which has been issued following a public consultation, will come into effect on 1stFebruary 2016.
For the first time, the guideline now includes specific advice for judges and magistrates passing sentence for illegal abstraction of electricity. Energy Theft affects all energy consumers’ bills – in that sense we are all victims of the crimes that take place. The UKRPA was pleased to participate within the consultation process, and welcome the publication. The inclusion of specific guidelines for electricity theft is a positive move, and reflects the serious impact that it can have on both livelihoods and communities.
However, the UKRPA is disappointed that theft of gas does not receive the same attention despite also being a crime under Section 1 of the Theft Act 1968. The impacts of the theft of gas can be devastating; an explosion caused by tampering with the gas supply can cause damage to entire streets and poses a serious threat to life and property.
In the coming months, as a central part of its published strategy, the UKRPA will be examining steps that will improve successful prosecutions, including how best to work with the Police, Crown Prosecution Service, and the Sentencing Council.
We look forward to working with the Sentencing Council, Judges and Magistrates, to ensure that, sentences when passed, reflect the seriousness of the individual crimes being committed.
Download the full press release here.