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London to tag knife crime offenders


Up to 100 knife crime offenders in London are to be fitted with GPS tracking tags when released from prison as part of a pilot aimed at reducing reoffending.

Mayor Sadiq Khan has announced that four boroughs will take part in the one-year exercise run by the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC): Lewisham, Lambeth, Croydon and Southwark.

It will apply to offenders who have been in prison for knife related crimes such as knife possession, robbery, wounding, GBH and aggravated burglary and are deemed more likely to reoffend.

The tags will make it possible to check their movements against the location of reported crimes, with significant matches shared with local police.

The mayor said it should help to reduce reoffending and improve crime detection rates through data sharing.

Strengthening supervision

Carina Heckroodt, head of the London Extremism, Gangs and Organised Crime Unit in the National Probation Service (London Division) said: “This new pilot is a significant step forward in harnessing new technology to strengthen the supervision of offenders, particularly those who are at risk of being drawn in to a gang environment and other criminal networks.

“These tags will provide a constant physical reminder of an offender’s licence conditions, encouraging them to comply with their restrictions and deterring them from further offending and protect victims.”

Alice Burrows, a probation officer from London Community Rehabilitation Company, who has worked with GPS as part of MOPAC’s current pilot said: “I have found GPS tagging hugely beneficial, not only for the police and probation services, but more importantly it does act as a deterrent to offending.

“One of my service users regularly comments on the fact that having the tag on has deterred him from offending because it makes him think twice about his actions. It is also a good use of technology that can help the police quickly rule a person out of inquiries because of access to location data.” 

Image by Jérémy-Günther-Heinz Jähnick, CC BY-SA 3.0 through Wikimedia

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