Lincolnshire pilot scheme will see offenders made to wear ‘sobriety tags’

Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones.
Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones.

Offenders will be made to wear ‘sobriety tags’ as part of a pilot scheme aimed at reducing alcohol-fueled crime.

The project is funded the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner and will use the latest alcohol monitoring technology, known as ‘sobriety tags’, to tackle alcohol misuse and associated offending.

The ankle bracelets, which detect alcohol levels in the wearer’s sweat, alert the authorities when someone has breached an abstinence order. They take an average of 48 alcohol content readings each day.

The pilot is being funded by Lincolnshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones and carried out by Humberside, Lincolnshire & North Yorkshire Community Rehabilitation Company.

Magistrates’ and Crown Courts will be able to require offenders to wear the tags by executing an Alcohol Abstinence Monitoring Requirement (AAMR) as part of community or suspended sentences imposed on those who commit violent and other crimes while under the influence of alcohol.

If the tag detects the presence of alcohol in the system, probation services are alerted and the individual concerned could be sent back to court.

In Lincolnshire it is estimated that alcohol played a part in a quarter of all offences reported and the figures are even worse in domestic abuse cases involving alcohol, at more than 40 per cent.

Nationally, more than 50 per cent of all violent incidents nationally are committed by offenders who are under the influence of alcohol, with a cost to the taxpayer of between £8 billion and £13 billion per year.

Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones said: “Re-offending rates are much higher for people where alcohol plays a role in the offence. By tackling that we can reduce the likelihood of them re-offending.

“If we succeed, then the bottom line is we will reduce the number of victims of crime in the future, particularly victims of domestic abuse. The period in which the offender is tagged will give rehabilitation agencies a real opportunity to work with the offender and get them to recognise and change their behaviour, hopefully for good.”

Amy Gilbert, head of operations, at HLNY CRC said: “There’s a cohort of offenders who are more likely to commit crime when they are under the influence of alcohol, creating more victims and harm to individuals and local communities damaging people’s lives.

“If we can address their misuse of alcohol and work with individuals to understand how their drinking impacts on their behaviour, the decisions they make and the negative impact it has on others, then we hope this will make a real difference and reduce reoffending.”

Offenders will be screened before being tagged to make sure tags are not used on people who are alcohol-dependent or have certain medical conditions.