Shoplifters, thieves and violent people who commit repeated offences could be handed mandatory prison sentences under plans being mulled by the government.

The government is reportedly planning to force judges to impose jail terms when sentencing repeat offenders for offences such as shoplifting, theft and assault, using new legislation including in the crime and justice bill.

These offences don’t necessarily result in a prison sentence currently, and the number of offences required for a prison sentence would vary according to the type of crime, according to The Times.

A government source told The Times the trigger for a mandatory sentence for repeat shoplifting would likely be between 10 and 20 instances, due to it being a lower-level offence than a knife crime.

Lower thresholds are being considered for burglary, theft and common assault.

The newspaper also reported that the government is also in favour of police and retailers making greater use of facial recognition technology.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “Shoplifting strikes at the heart of local communities and we expect police forces to take this seriously – deterring this kind of crime but also catching more offenders.

“We have delivered more police officers in England and Wales than ever before and invested a record of up to £17.6bn in 2023/24 into policing, including for more visible patrols in our neighbourhoods and better security such as CCTV and alarm systems.”