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Burglars to be tagged after prison release under new scheme

Burglars may be made to wear GPS tags after being released from prison under new laws announced this week.

The scheme comes after research found that a large proportion of criminals convicted of theft and burglary go on to offend again.

Under the initiative, burglars, robbers and thieves that have served a prison sentence of a year or more will be “automatically fitted” with a GPS tag on release.

These tags are capable of monitoring the bearer’s location by GPS satellite 24 hours a day, for up to 12 months.

According to the latest statistics, more than half of those who serve time for theft and burglary reoffend “within a year”. However, almost 80 per cent of all theft and burglary cases result in no suspect being identified.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) hope the tags will act as a deterrent, but also as a means to track whether those wearing GPS tags have been “in the vicinity of recent burglaries, thefts or robberies”.

The scheme will initially launch in six police force areas, including the West Midlands, from 12 April.

Commenting on the scheme, Minister for Crime and Policing, Kit Malthouse, said: “Being burgled or robbed is devastating and I understand how frustrating it is when the perpetrators can’t be caught, both for the public and the police.

“Tagging these prolific offenders so we know where they are 24 hours a day should be powerful persuasion to change their ways and will help police find and charge them if they don’t. It’s another tool helping probation staff to cut crime and keep the public safe.”

National Police Chief’s Council Electronic Monitoring Lead, Deputy Chief Constable Jon Stratford, added: “Tagging prolific offenders provides a strong deterrent and means officers will be able to quickly arrest and gather evidence against anyone suspected of being involved in a robbery, burglary or other theft.”

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