South Yorkshire Police boss welcomes tags to stop offenders drinking

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South Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner has given his backing to ‘sobriety tags’ aimed at preventing offenders from drinking.

New legislation came into force yesterday giving judges the power to ban criminals from drinking and to force them to wear a special tag which detects whether they have consumed alcohol.

The ankle tags are worn 24 hours a day and monitor an offender’s sweat to check for alcohol in their system.

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Sheffield Crown CourtSheffield Crown Court
Sheffield Crown Court

Those breaching their alcohol abstinence order could be returned to court and face further sanctions, including a fine, an even longer order or prison.

Under the legislation courts can order offenders to wear tags for up to 120 days.

Dr Alan Billings said: “Almost 40 per cent of violent crime involves offenders who are under the influence of alcohol.

“Drink-fuelled individuals cause serious harm to others and are a blight on many of our urban centres.

“They also take up disproportionate amounts of police time.

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“I welcome the technology that will enable some offenders to be tagged, which will help to reduce alcohol related harm and crime.

The ankle tags will begin to be rolled out across England and Wales later this year after successful pilot schemes.

Dr Billings added: “Many of those who are tempted to drink often want to stop but need a strong incentive not to do so.

“I believe the so-called ‘sobriety tag’ may be one answer, giving rehabilitation organisations a chance to help offenders sustain changes in their behaviour.”