Police to introduce prison release tagging

Avon and Somerset police to work with HM Prison and Probation Service in new GPS tagging scheme.

Avon and Somerset police to work with HM Prison and Probation Service in new GPS tagging scheme. - Credit: Archant

The Avon and Somerset police area will see an introduction of a world-first GPS tagging scheme of burglars, thieves and robbers on their release from prison. 

Avon and Somerset Constabulary is one of six forces taking part in the initiative, which will be launched on April 12. 

Anyone jailed for a year or more for burglary, robbery and theft will be automatically fitted with a tag on release, allowing GPS satellites to monitor their movements 24 hours a day. 

The scheme aims to monitor and deter repeat offences by those who make a career out of crime.  

Police, HM Prison and Probation Service staff will work together to investigate whether anyone tagged was in the vicinity of burglaries, thefts and robberies; which could provide crucial evidence in catching the perpetrators. 

DCI Dickon Turner, who leads the force's integrated offender management team, said: “We’re pleased to be one of the initial six forces taking part in this scheme and we estimate around 60 offenders will be tagged within the first six months in our force area. 

“This innovative partnership approach will provide another tool we can use to help break the cycle of re-offending and reduce the amount of acquisitive crime committed. 

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“We know burglaries, robberies and vehicle crime causes untold misery to victims. We believe this scheme will intensify our ability to tackle these offences head-on and bring prolific offenders to justice.” 

Officers will be able to submit any burglaries, thefts or robberies they are investigating to a dedicated unit overseen by HM Prison and Probation Service.

Trained staff will then be able to check the location history of those on tags against the details of the crime, allowing police to either rule out or investigate suspects further. 

National police chief’s council electronic monitoring lead, deputy chief constable Jon Stratford, said: “Tagging prolific offenders provides a strong deterrent and means officers will be able to quickly arrest and gather evidence against anyone suspected of being involved in a robbery, burglary or other theft.  

“This scheme will play a part in our overall work to prevent crime and keep our communities safe.”