New Year’s booze ban for 1,800 alcohol-tagged offenders

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Offenders banned from alcohol by the courts have stayed sober on 97% of the days they were tagged new figures show.

Around 1,800 offenders are wearing alcohol tags over the festive period this year as part of the government’s drive to protect the public from drink-fuelled crime.

Last Christmas and New Year around 800 offenders wore the device, just 12 months later the figure has more than doubled – helping to tackle alcohol-related crime over the festive period.

The tags are accurate enough to distinguish between foods that contain low-levels of alcohol – such as brandy sauce on Christmas Pudding – and drinks such as mulled wine that offenders could get drunk from.

Offenders banned from alcohol by the courts have stayed sober on 97% of the days they were tagged, but those who do drink can face returning to court for further punishment, including prison.

39% of all violent crime in the UK involves alcohol, including domestic abuse which can rise during the festive period as figures provided by charities such as Women’s Aid have often demonstrated.

Prisons and Probation Minister, Damian Hinds, said:

Alcohol-fuelled crime such as domestic abuse is known to spike over the festive period, but our new alcohol tags can help stop that – protecting victims and tackling the causes of offending.

We’re investing £183 million in electronic monitoring and the increased use of sobriety tags is already helping to keep our communities safer.

Alcohol tags are part of the government’s £183 million investment over the next 3 years to use innovative tagging technology to help tackle crime, with roughly 12,000 tagging orders expected to be made during this period.

The tags were first rolled out in 2020 as a punishment for alcohol-fuelled crimes and are also used to help keep the public safe from offenders considered likely to commit crimes when drunk.

They monitor alcohol bans for offenders on community sentences handed down by judges or magistrates and can also be used as a licence condition for prison leavers.

Roughly 20% of those supervised by probation are classed as having a drink problem and alcohol-fuelled crime is estimated to cost our society £21 billion per year.

Last year, the government launched another world-first, using GPS tags to track robbers, thieves and burglars. Around 10,000 tagging orders are expected to be made over the next 3 years to help stop criminals from reoffending and help police catch them if they carry on.

The £183 million investment over the next 3 years will nearly double the number of defendants on tags at any one time from 13,500 in 2021 to 25,000 by 2025.

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