alcohol monitor tag

Alcohol-monitoring tags fitted to Welsh offenders to curb crime

Image credit: Dreamstime

Criminals in Wales who commit alcohol-fuelled crimes are to be fitted with tags that monitor the level of alcohol in their bloodstream every 30 minutes.

If the maximum bloodstream levels are breached, the probation service is alerted to the fact that the offender is not complying with their alcohol abstinence order – new powers brought in earlier this year that allow courts to issue drinking bans for up to 120 days. They can also detect when the tags have been tampered with and determine the difference between hand sanitiser and perfume in comparison to alcohol detected from drinks.

If a person breaches their order, they can be returned to court where they could be sentenced or face fines.

Last month, the Lord Chancellor set out reforms to make community orders stricter and expand the use of electronic monitoring.

Alcohol is a factor in around 39 per cent of violent crime, with the social and economic cost of alcohol-related harm stretching to over £21bn per year, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) said.

It is seen as one of the driving influencers of domestic violence and unprovoked attacks on strangers.

Minister for Crime and Policing, Kit Malthouse MP said: “All too often we see the devastating effects of alcohol-fuelled behaviour, reckless crimes and casual violence, which blight our neighbourhoods and the lives of too many victims.

“This proven new tool can break the self-destructive cycle that offenders end up in, helping them sober up if they choose to and the courts to punish those who don’t.”

The scheme follows two successful pilots in London and across Humberside, Lincolnshire and North Yorkshire which showed that offenders were alcohol free on over 97 per cent of the days monitored. Wearers also reported a positive impact on their lives, wellbeing and behaviour.

At present, abstinence orders can last for four months but the MoJ said it was looking at whether they should be able to last longer as part of sentencing reforms.

Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart said: “Alcohol can have a devastating impact on lives and figures show it is a key factor behind far too many crimes.

“I am encouraged to see Wales at the forefront of implementing this new technology, which we believe will contribute towards lowering reoffending rates, making our streets safer and supporting those who need help.”

Plans to use GPS tags to track burglars, robbers and thieves when they are released from prison are also being considered.

E&T has also looked at how technology is playing an increasingly important role in tackling knife crime in the UK.

Sign up to the E&T News e-mail to get great stories like this delivered to your inbox every day.

Recent articles