Sobriety tags rolled out across London

The Ministry of Justice and Mayor of London announce crackdown against alcohol related crime.

  • Successful scheme monitors criminals’ alcohol intake
  • Pilot results out today show 92 per cent compliance rate
  • Alcohol related crime costs the taxpayer up to £13 billion per year
  • Justice Secretary and Mayor of London committed to stop reoffending

An innovative pilot to keep criminals sober will be extended throughout London, after results out today (25 February) showed it was successful in 92% of cases.

Thanks to new funds from the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) and the Mayor of London, courts in the capital will be able to put an ankle bracelet on offenders whose crimes were influenced by alcohol.

The tags perform around-the-clock monitoring of alcohol in an offender’s perspiration. If they drink again, breaching their alcohol abstinence order, they can be returned to court for further sanctions.

MOJ is contributing £400,000 towards the cost of extending the scheme past its initial four pilot boroughs to the whole of the capital from April 2016. The initiative will be run by the London Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC), which is contributing £450,000 to the extension.

Justice Secretary Michael Gove said:

I am absolutely committed to reducing reoffending – so we can cut crime and better protect the public.

By giving courts this new power and making the latest technology available, we are helping offenders understand the detrimental impact drinking alcohol can have on their behaviour.

This innovative approach has delivered impressive results so far and we will be building on them with this this wider London roll out.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson said:

Alcohol-fuelled crimes put a huge strain on frontline services, costing the taxpayer billions of pounds each year.

From assault, to drink-driving, to theft and criminal damage, this innovative technology is driving down reoffending and proving rehabilitation does not have to mean prison.

After such a success in South London, it’s time to roll out these tags to the rest of the capital and rid our streets of these crimes, by helping even more offenders stay off the booze and get back on the right track.

MOPAC has overseen an 18-month pilot of the sobriety tags across four London boroughs.

Today’s report finds the tags enjoy a 92% compliance rate. In the first 12 months of the pilot, 113 alcohol abstinence requirement orders were made and offenders were required to remain sober for up to 120 days. This compares favourably with the compliance rate for other community based orders.