Statistics released today (19 January 2023) show the number of offenders, defendants and people on immigration bail tagged at any one point increased 10 per cent last year from 14,335 in December 2021 to 15,760 in December 2022.
It shows the impact of the government’s rollout of innovative GPS and alcohol tags to track the physical movements and limit the drinking of more criminals over the last 18 months.
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.
The figures also show a 79 per cent increase in the number of people wearing a GPS tag in the last year – from 3,188 on 31 December 2021 to 5,694 a year later.
More than 1,700 burglars, robbers and thieves were made to wear a tag and have their movements tracked in 2022, bringing the total to over 2,500 since GPS tagging was expanded to acquisitive criminals in 2021.
Police forces have been using the new location monitoring GPS tags to successfully help solve a series of neighbourhood crimes, including an armed robbery in Derbyshire, a car theft in Cheshire and a house burglary in Kent. In all these cases the innovative technology helped police catch and convict offenders and they were all handed prison sentences.
The number of offenders wearing alcohol monitoring ‘sobriety’ tags on a given day has also doubled – increasing from 773 to 1,859 in the last year following the national rollout of sobriety tags for prison leavers in June 2022 to tackle booze-fuelled crime.
Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Secretary, Dominic Raab, said:
Thousands of offenders are being tagged each year to crackdown on crime thanks to our investment in cutting-edge technology.
We’ve more than doubled the number of offenders wearing alcohol tags and have been GPS tagging thousands more burglars and robbers – to reduce reoffending and keep our communities safer.
GPS monitoring equipment is specifically deployed across 19 police force areas – roughly half of England and Wales – so that burglars, robbers and thieves that have served a prison sentence of 90 days or more are tagged on release. Their whereabouts will be monitored by GPS satellites for up to 12 months. It is part of a trial to evaluate how tags can help deter and detect crime with over 10,000 criminals expected to be tagged by 2025.
Alcohol tags are another part of the government’s £183 million investment over the next three years, with roughly 12,000 offenders expected to be given an alcohol tag to wear during this period.