Government cuts thresholds to electronically tag thousands more ‘neighbourhood criminals’

Those who have been given sentences of only 90 days will now be monitored via GPS

Credit: Crown Copyright/Open Government Licence v3.0

The government has revealed that criminals with prison sentences of as little 90 days will be fitted with electronic tags under plans to further ramp up the use of the technology to encompass thousands of “neighbourhood criminals”.

The announcement marks the latest step in a significant expansion of the GPS tag programme, which last year began fitting devices to those convicted of theft, burglary or robbery. This began with a pilot scheme, which led into a full national rollout through which the government said that about 10,000 extra “prolific robbers, thieves and burglars” would be tagged.

The plan is now that the project will be further expanded by slashing the eligibility threshold. Currently, tags can only be fitted to those that have been sentenced to a custodial sentence of at least a year; this is being lowered to include criminals that have been sentenced to terms of as little as 90 days.

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The government estimates that about 2,000 extra people will be tagged as a result of this move.

The technology will allow probation officers and police to keep track of the whereabouts of offenders after their release from custody. This means authorities will know if the tagged individual was “in the vicinity of a crime”, according to the government.

“The technology also allows probation staff to keep a much closer eye on the whereabouts of offenders under their supervision – meaning they are better able to prevent ex-criminals from falling back into a life of crime,” it added.

The overall aim of the expansion is to “drive down re-offending rates and protect our communities”.


Sam Trendall

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