Courtrooms in shopping centre means instant justice for shoplifters
Shoplifters in Kent could get their comeuppance before they’ve even left the scene of the crime, thanks to new courtrooms in a shopping centre.
An on-the-spot justice system at Bluewater Shopping Centre, near Dartford, Kent, will see thieves arrested, appear before magistrates and, if convicted, sentenced without even leaving the shopping centre.
The rooms have video links to five courts. Kent police, which is running the video-link courts with help from US-based Cisco Technology, said it would be able to prosecute offenders, from arrest to conviction, within six hours.
The ‘instant justice’ system is being rolled out after a successful two-month trial. It is hoped it will save police and court staff time and money, and deter other shoplifters.
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Shoplifting is believed to cost retailers £840 million a year.
Police in Manchester last month backed plans to install a courtroom and a mini-police station with cells within local shopping centres.
Deputy Chief Constable Simon Byrne said having this setup at the Arndale Centre would “speed up the whole justice system” and prevent “hoicking suspects across Manchester to charge them and then wait a week before putting them before the courts”.