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More London knife offenders to get GPS trackers

04/06/19

Parliamentary Correspondent

Capital's mayor announces £700,000 injection to extend scheme to a total of 20 boroughs  

Hundreds of knife crime offenders in London will be fitted with GPS tracking devices after their release from prison, the capital's mayor has announced, after describing a trial of the technology as a success.

Sadiq Khan announced a £700,000 cash injection to expand the trial scheme across an additional 16 boroughs.

The investment will provide up to 300 GPS tags over the next year – a big increase on the 12 offenders currently wearing the tags under the trial in four boroughs.

The new money will also allow location data to be shared with the Metropolitan Police, which will check it against the locations of reported crime. The data will also be shared with probation services, which could use it to enforce restrictions on the movements of the released offenders.

Khan, the mayor, said the move was part of “tackling the root causes of crime”, rather than simply ensuring the Met was “arresting violent offenders”.

“Enforcement alone will only suppress violence - and that’s why I am investing in innovative programmes like GPS tagging that will not only help in crime reduction but crucially reduce the risk of reoffending,” he said.

Gabriel Amahwe, London’s director of probation, said the trial was already “showing the significant potential of this scheme to reduce the incidence of knife crime offences”.

The mayor’s office has a contract with mobile alarm and tracker maker Buddi to manage both the tagging contract and its data. Devices are worn by offenders who have served a custodial sentence for knife crimes such as possession of a blade, robbery, aggravated burglary and grievous bodily harm.

The pilot has been operating in Lewisham, Croydon, Southwark and Lambeth since February and will now run in 20 boroughs altogether.

GPS monitoring has been used in London as part of community sentences with persistent offenders since March 2017, a scheme now being extended across the country.

There were 132 fatal stabbings in London in 2018 – the highest death toll for more than a decade.

 

Image: istock/SteveAllenPhoto

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