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MoJ to roll out ‘sobriety tags’ in England

01/04/21

Mark Say Managing Editor

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The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has announced plans to roll out the use of ‘sobriety tags’ across England for offenders who commit alcohol driven crimes.

Tag and no drinking sign

It said this follows a successful trial in Wales since October in which, of more than 100 offenders, 95% have stayed sober on the days monitored.

Some offenders are ordered to stay sober as part of a probation sentence and face further court sentences or fines if caught breaching a ban. The tags take a sample of their sweat every 30 minutes and alert the probation service if alcohol is detected.

The tags can distinguish the difference between drinks and other types of alcohol – such as hand sanitiser or perfume. They work 24/7 and can also tell if someone tries to block contact between the tag and their skin.

Minister for Crime and Policing, Kit Malthouse MP said: “These tags have already brought enormous benefit to Wales since they were introduced in October, with one offender I met saying it not only changed his ways but also saved his life.

“This smart and powerful new tool is helping the fight against alcohol fuelled violence which ruins too many lives and families and creates mayhem in our town centres.

“The tags have helped probation officers in Wales steer offenders away from bad habits and get them the support they need to turn their backs on crime.”

Violent crime

The MoJ said that alcohol plays a part in 39% of violent crime, with the social and economic cost of drink related harm around £21.5 billion per year and is seen as one of the drivers of domestic violence and unprovoked attacks.

Use of the sobriety tags will be backed up by targeted professional support, signposting offenders to the help they need and helping to prevent future victims.

Image from GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0

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