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Sobriety tagging set to double in the next two years

The latest statistics show that the compliance rate of those fitted with tags to monitor their alcohol consumption was 97.2%.

The number of sobriety tags issued is set to double within the next two years following the recent release of positive statistics.

Legislation introduced in May 2020 meant that offenders who were under the influence of alcohol when they committed a crime could be fitted with a sobriety tag to prevent alcohol-induced reoffending.

The tags monitor the wearer’s sweat every 30 minutes. The length of time they wear the tag for will depend on their licence but there is a minimum of 30 days and a maximum of one year with reviews carried out every three months.

Alcohol is believed to play a part in 39 per cent of violent crime in the UK, while 20 per cent of offenders under the probation service are identified as having drinking issues.

‘Booze-fuelled crime’ costs society £21bn per year.

The scheme was rolled out in Wales last year and to date the tags have been used on over 3,600 criminals.

Today, Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab has said that they plan to  double the number issued with the tags from 900 to 1,900 over the next two years – with a focus on those leaving prison on licence.

He said: “This is a big step forward using the latest technology to cut the link between alcohol abuse and the crime - and make our streets safer.”

In total, an extra £183 million will be invested in electronic monitoring by 2025 to almost double the number of people tagged at any one time to approximately 25,000. 

Probation Minister Kit Malthouse said: “When I first brought alcohol tags to the UK over a decade ago, I knew that given the chance, they could have a huge impact on crime. The great results we have seen so far, and now the expansion announced this week, mean that the use of tagging technology is firmly embedded as a critical tool for offender managers, proving a huge incentive for offenders to change.

“The move is part of the Government’s plan to cut crime, expanding the use of innovative technology like tags to protect the public and drive down reoffending.”

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