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Why do businesses use Civil Recovery

It is simply not possible for the Police to attend every incident of theft or fraud. When the Police do attend and leniency is granted with no further action taken, this does not automatically mean no crime has occurred. Where sanctions such as, a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN), Restorative Justice (RJ), Local/Community Resolution, Arrest, any form of Caution are used there has to be sufficient evidence of a crime and/or an admission. These outcomes conclude the criminal matter. All monies from penalties and fines goes to the crown. The purpose of criminal action is to punish and rehabilitate the offender. There is no recompense for the business concerned unless a case goes to Court and compensation is awarded.

The purpose of civil law is to compensate the victim – the business. Any civil proceedings for recovery are entirely separate from criminal proceedings and can be used in addition to or independent of criminal action.

A business invites its customers to its premises for specific purposes, such as, browsing and purchasing goods, or partaking of services. When a customer steals, defrauds or doesn’t pay for services, they are acting outside that purpose and are committing a trespass. Where goods are stolen this is also a conversion. Such acts are actionable in civil law.

There is a mistaken belief that just because a business gets its goods back it hasn’t lost anything. The business, ONLY got its goods back due to the investments it had to make into security measures, which are ONLY necessary because people steal.

The cost of security staff and other loss prevention measures is a significant overhead cost to businesses. If there were no incidents of theft, or attempted theft, of goods from stores there would be no need for loss prevention measures. Businesses reasonably takes the view that it is fair and equitable for a portion of loss prevention costs to be passed on to those who steal, or attempt to steal, goods/services from its premises. This reduces the costs which then have to be passed on to customers in general.

Businesses cannot allow wrongdoers to create the need for loss prevention measures to be put in place and then expect the cost of such measures to be passed onto honest shoppers. Otherwise such wrongdoers would be in effect given a licence to enter their premises to steal without any sanction or recourse.


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