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“Sobriety tags” roll out across England in bid to reduce alcohol-fueled criminal behaviour

“Sobriety tags” – ankle bracelets used to reduce alcohol-related criminal behaviour – will roll out across England and Wales after successful regional pilots, it has been revealed.

The ankle tags, worn for up to 120 days, can determine whether alcohol has been consumed by monitoring an offender’s sweat. If tested positive, the offender can be returned to court for further sanctions, such as a fine, extending the length of the order, or in some cases, imprisonment.

According to the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), pilot projects across Humberside, Lincolnshire, North Yorkshire and London showed offenders were alcohol-free on 97 per cent of the days monitored. Users also reported a “positive impact” on their lives, wellbeing, and behaviour.

Commenting on the scheme, Crime, Policing and Justice Minister Kit Malthouse said: “Smart technologies like sobriety tags not only punish offenders but can help turn their lives around.

“While prison will always be the right place for many criminals, tough community sentences like this can help cut reoffending and protect the public.”

Welcoming the scheme, meanwhile, Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Humberside Keith Hunter said the tags will “undoubtedly” reduce the number of victims of alcohol-related crime.

“During the trial in our area they provided rehabilitation agencies a real opportunity to work with the individual and get them to recognise and change their behaviour,” he said.

Recent statistics suggest that almost two in five (39 per cent) violent crimes involve an offender under the influence of alcohol.

The MoJ will start a national roll-out of the “Alcohol Abstinence Monitoring Requirement” from Winter 2020.

Have you been accused of committing a crime? We help clients through all stages of the criminal justice process, from arrest to prosecution and appeal. For support, get in touch with our expert team today.

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Gurjit Singh
As a member of the Criminal Litigation Accreditation Scheme (CLAS), holder of the Higher Rights of Audience (HRA) qualification and duty solicitor for the Coventry area, I regularly represent clients in a wide range of criminal cases, including road traffic offences.

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