‘Sobriety’ Tags Welcomed

South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Dr Alan Billings has welcomed new Government legislation, which came into force today (19 May 2020), that could require criminals to wear ‘sobriety tags’ and ban them from drinking.

The ankle tags are worn 24 hours a day, seven days a week and will monitor an offender’s sweat to determine whether they have consumed alcohol. Those breaching their alcohol abstinence order could be returned to court and face further sanctions, including a fine, a lengthening of thee order or, in some cases, a prison sentence.

Under the legislation courts will be able to order offenders to wear tags for up to 120 days.

Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “Almost 40% 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.

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

Public Health England estimate the cost of the harm done by drink fuelled individuals to be to be around £22bn per year.

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

The national roll-out follows two successful pilots in London and Lincolnshire, North Yorkshire and Humberside.

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.”

The Government press release is available here:  https://www.gov.uk/government/news/sobriety-tags-come-into-force