Sobriety tag scheme to roll-out across region to reduce alcohol-related crime

Sobriety tag scheme to roll-out across region to reduce alcohol-related crime image

Humberside, Lincolnshire & North Yorkshire Community Rehabilitation Company (HLNY CRC) is to roll-out use of ‘sobriety tags’ across all courts in Humberside, Lincolnshire and North Yorkshire to reduce alcohol-related offences.

It is estimated that alcohol plays a part in 25% of all offences reported and up to 40% of domestic abuse offences in the Humberside Lincolnshire and North Yorkshire area.

The Alcohol Abstinence Monitoring Requirement (AAMR) Pilot was first launched in June 2017. The pilot, funded by the Police and Crime Commissioners for Humberside, Lincolnshire and North Yorkshire, involves utilising electronic ‘sobriety tags’ as part of community based sentences.

The tags monitor the consumption of alcohol and alert case managers if an offender has been drinking. To date, the pilot has been active in York, Grimsby and East Lincolnshire, but from June 4, 2018 the AAMR will become available to all courts within Humberside, Lincolnshire and North Yorkshire.

HLNY CRC is responsible for supervising offenders under probation and ensuring they comply with orders of the court. CRC staff have been trained to fit and maintain the sobriety tags and to complete alcohol awareness work with offenders subject to the requirement.

Becky Bailey, Project Manager for the HLNY AAMR Pilot, said: “There’s a cohort of offenders who are more likely to commit crime when they are under the influence of alcohol, creating more victims and harm to individuals and themselves. In the pilot scheme 70 offenders have been sentenced to the Alcohol Abstinence Monitoring Requirement for a range of offences including theft, drink driving and violent offences.

“To date the compliance rate has been around 90 per cent and offenders who have completed the requirement say it has had a positive impact upon their lives and helped them to reduce their use of alcohol.”

Magistrates and Crown Courts can impose an AAMR as part of a Community Sentence or Suspended Sentence Order provided there is evidence the offending was linked to use of alcohol. Offenders can be ordered to wear a ‘sobriety tag’ around their ankle for up to 120 days.

The technology, provided by SCRAM Systems, accurately detects the presence of alcohol in an offender’s system by taking readings from the skin. If alcohol is detected, the offender can potentially be returned to court in breach of their sentence. Offenders are assessed for suitability before being tagged as the requirement cannot be used for people who are dependent on alcohol or those with certain medical conditions.

Martin Davies, chief executive of HLNY CRC said: “The sobriety tagging initiative is an innovative approach to tackling alcohol-related crime and an opportunity to make a big difference to communities across Humberside, Lincolnshire and North Yorkshire by reducing the risk of further alcohol related offences.”

Humberside Police and Crime Commissioner Keith Hunter said: “The trial of sobriety tags in the Humberside Police area was carried out at Grimsby Court and has proved very successful. One offender was featured on the regional news speaking about how the tag had made him think about, and change his behaviour for the better

“I am pleased to see the plans to roll out the scheme across all courts in our area and my office will monitor the results moving forward.”

Amit Sethi, EU Head of Operations for SCRAM Systems, said: “Removing alcohol from the equation can make all the difference for both the offenders and the community at large. We look forward to continuing to support the Humberside, Lincolnshire and North Yorkshire CRC and its innovative approach to addressing alcohol-related offences.”

As the AAMR is a Pilot scheme, a full evaluation has been commissioned from independent research organisation, the National Centre for Social Research. This will evaluate the effectiveness of the intervention to tackle alcohol related offending.