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News - 7 June 2012
Warning on 'lifetime bans' from legal expert
Barrister Jim Duke delivered a warning to shopping centres and crime reduction partnerships running exclusion schemes: imposing life-time bans or exclusions on offenders could be a costly mistake.
Speaking at the British Council of Shopping Centres Security Conference at Manchester on May 30, Barrister Jim Duke warned that crime reduction partnerships or shopping centres which impose lifetime bans on offenders could be running foul of the Human Rights Act of 1998. That could be an expensive mistake.
Duke made the point that the Act requires flexibility on the part of those exercising their 'right to exclude' individuals from their property. The law gives everyone the right to redeem themselves, and clearly a lifetime ban, as such, does not provide such a mechanism.
Duke recommends that all such exclusion schemes only issue bans of limited duration, and suggests that longer ones should include provision for reviews. He also pointed out that hundreds or even thousands of lifetime bans are likely to be ineffective: on the one hand the more individuals are excluded, the less able staff will be to monitor offenders and exclude them if they attempt to enter premises; on the other hand, if banned individuals do gain access, they may be able to claim under law that any previous ban has effectively been revoked as they have been given implied consent to enter the premises.
Another problem with lifetime bans in some schemes is the sheer number of them: some larger shopping centres and retail parks, for example, have thousands of lifetime bans in operation. Most exclusion schemes are paper-based and the ability of those administrating such schemes to manage such large numbers is limited.
As more schemes adopt online administration systems the problem becomes easier to handle. Says Dave Patten, director of Littoralis, supplier of BCRP Intranet online partnership administration system: "Lifetime bans are difficult to administer, pretty ineffective and now seem to be illegal too. With an online system the need for lifetime bans is reduced because the system can handle fixed-term exclusions much more efficiently than paper-based systems can.
"The online approach is also far more effective in circulating images of excluded offenders etc, so that offenders who try to access property from which they are banned are less able to succeed in doing so. It's just another powerful argument in favour of online admin systems such as BCRP Intranet"
For more information on BCRP Intranet visit www.littoralis.com
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