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So, there's no custodial sentence for car theft in the UK.

(22 Posts)
TruffleOil Tue 11-Mar-14 13:22:27

I just got a call from the Met Police, they have apprehended the thief who stole our car some weeks ago.

I asked her what the sentence was, and she said she didn't know but certainly not custodial.

Am I unreasonable in thinking this is outrageous?

squeakytoy Tue 11-Mar-14 13:25:33

Not necessarily . There are plenty of car thieves who do get custodial sentences. Each case is different.

OhGoveUckYourself Tue 11-Mar-14 13:30:26

Up to 26 weeks in custody can be given for a non-aggravated Vehicle Taking Without Consent - it depends on the circumstances and what aggravated features there are. It is not the job of the police to sentence but I am surprised how ill-informed this one was about sentencing.

PosyFossilsShoes Tue 11-Mar-14 13:35:09

There absolutely is the possibility of custody! If it's just "taking and driving away" (TDA) the guidelines for magistrates courts, for a first time offender pleading not guilty, are:

Lowest level - exceeding authorised use of a relative or employer's car, or returning a hire care late - range is a fine up to a medium level community order.

Middle level - as above with damage caused to lock / ignition OR stranger's vehicle used but no damage - medium to high level community order.

Top level - taking vehicle from private premises OR causing damage to the lock or ignition of a stranger's vehicle - high level community order to six months in prison.

I assume you didn't know the person who stole your car in which case it's the most serious category. The court will probably ask for pre-sentence reports but if the offender has previous history for theft and / or is being done for driving while disqualified or uninsured, it is quite possible they will go to prison.

That's just for TDA. If the vehicle was damaged or was stolen in a burglary then that is aggravated vehicle taking and the risk of custody is higher.

Skivvywoman Tue 11-Mar-14 13:54:58

It depends on how many times he's offended

If it's his first time he certainly won't
And that's how this country's crime rate is so bloody high!

meditrina Tue 11-Mar-14 13:59:28

<sneaks in pedantically>

There is no single "UK" jurisdiction, though offences and sentencing guidelines are broadly similar (and in some cases identical).

<sneaks out>

TruffleOil Tue 11-Mar-14 14:15:13

How about that! Officer said "definitely". Mind you he was apprehended in the course of stealing ANOTHER car.

Car was damaged, 11K worth, found ditched in Essex.

TruffleOil Tue 11-Mar-14 14:17:44

We didn't know the person who took the car.

OhGoveUckYourself Tue 11-Mar-14 15:39:25

The starting point for TWOCking (taking without consent) under those circumstances is a high level community order so depending upon previous convictions etc, custody is a distinct possibility. I am using the sentencing guidelines for England and Wales as you said the Met Police . Is the offender a youth ,OP? That might be the reason for the Police Officer's thoughts on custody.

kungfupannda Tue 11-Mar-14 17:04:17

You can get custodial sentences for TWOC. But, as with the vast majority of offences, the lower end of the sentencing guidelines is non-custodial, i.e. probation or a fine.

An experienced officer will be able to take a punt on the sentencing bracket that an offender is likely to fall into, because they will know his previous convictions and how many offences he's up for. If she's arrested someone with, say, one previous conviction as a juvenile and a caution for something unrelated, and he's up for one TWOC and one attempt, she'd be able to say 'definitely not custody' with some certainty.

PosyFossilsShoes Tue 11-Mar-14 18:01:54

He was a stranger, caused £11k of damage, crashed it, and was apprehended pinching another one?

That is DEFINITELY risk-of-custody time unless he is a youth and even then I'd suggest he packs a toothbrush.

Nicknacky Tue 11-Mar-14 18:06:45

If that is his first conviction I wouldn't expect jail time. Not for nicking two cars.

TruffleOil Tue 11-Mar-14 18:39:30

For those of you in the know... (sounds like there are a lot) - why no jail time for stealing a car (two, actually)? Isn't that strangely soft on crime? Would you get jail time for breaking & entering?

I don't think he's a minor. I saw him on CCTV footage. He seems to be 30-ish.

Nicknacky Tue 11-Mar-14 18:43:28

Simply because jails are packed, expense of imprisonment as opposed to other penalties. None violent offence etc.

Don't get me wrong, I would jail them if I could lol! But no, I wouldn't expect it.

littlewhitebag Tue 11-Mar-14 18:48:27

It costs a fortune to keep someone in prison and for stealing a car it would only be a short sentence so the offender would get no opportunity to learn anything in prison and would probably come out better informed by other prisoners than when he went in.

If he gets a community based sentence then he will have to do some work and put something back into the community or a probation order where he will have to meet with a PO and talk about his offending. Much more cost effective.

trufflehunterthebadger Tue 11-Mar-14 18:52:08

quite simply the only way you are getting an actual custodial term currently is if you are a persistent offender with some sort of suspended imprisonment which you are in breach of. And even then you probably will only get the sus imp activated after the 2nd breach.

The only offences IME which will lead to guaranteed custodial sentences, no matter what your "offending history" is rape or murder/manslaughter

Recent examples in my case load which have received SSOs (suspended) include a prolific burglar stealing a considerable amount of stuff from a pub that was being done up; a man who stole £15k from the elderly man he befriended; the man who sexually assaulted 4 of his daughter's friends on several occassions.

Recent imprisonments on my cases - uncle who had sexual relationships with all his pubescent nieces resulting in 1 baby; man who raped his PG wife during diabetic blackouts; stranger rape and strangulation in the street; manslaughter of gang member by rival gang; historic rape of 15 year old by 3 assailants. Those were all Crown cases - magistrates cases are unlikely to result in prison terms unless the offenders are in and out of court every week

WooWooOwl Tue 11-Mar-14 18:54:09

Theft of anything over the value of about £50 should carry an automatic custodial sentence IMO.

Nicknacky Tue 11-Mar-14 18:56:12

Are you CID, truffle ?

TruffleOil Tue 11-Mar-14 18:58:13

thanks truffle that's very interesting. What's your job?

I understand that violent offenders are priority number one in the prison stakes, but if there's never any prison time for property crimes then what's the deterrent?

trufflehunterthebadger Tue 11-Mar-14 18:58:59

There would be a prison on every corner then, WooWoo and your taxes would rise massively

IME most offenders prefer prison to community orders. They get a quick hit with prison and it's over. On a 1 year community order they have to comply with probation and if they breach the order they will be back in court again. Similar with SSOs - unless they actively want to go to prison (plenty do) they hate these orders as they have to behave or have the threat of having the sentence activated. Prison is not effective in rehabilitating offenders on short term sentences, there is overwhelming evidence to this effect.

trufflehunterthebadger Tue 11-Mar-14 19:01:40

I'm not CID, I work in the Criminal Justice Department of my police force. I support victims and witnesses going to criminal trials and as such we are a conduit between the CPS, court and police. However, the majority of the cases which I deal with are serious crimes. I've worked for the police for 10 years, 5 years in my current role. DH is ex CID.

Bartman Tue 11-Mar-14 19:34:04

Cut their fucking balls off!

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