Burglars, thieves and thieves in the UK will be forced to wear GPS beacons to track their movements to deter repeat offenders, officials said on Wednesday.
Offenders who have served a sentence of one year or more will be tagged upon release. They will be monitored by GPS satellites 24 hours a day for up to 12 months, according to a press release from the Department of Justice (MOJ).
“Being burgled or robbed is devastating and I understand how frustrating it is not to be able to catch the perpetrators, both for the public and for the police,” said Minister of Crime and Police Kit Malthouse. “Tagging these prolific offenders so that we know where they are 24 hours a day should be a powerful persuasion to change their habits and will help the police find them and charge them if they don’t.”
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Police will work with staff from the HM Prison and Probation Service – an executive agency of the Department of Justice responsible for corrections in England and Wales – to determine whether tagged offenders were in recent crime areas.
The program will initially launch in Avon and Somerset, Cheshire, Gloucestershire, Gwent, Humberside and West Midlands – six police zones – on April 12. Authorities estimate that 250 offenders will be tagged in the first six months.
The Justice Department said it will be expanded to 13 more areas in September.
The label’s announcement comes as more than half of those convicted of theft and burglary commit additional crimes within a year, and nearly 80% of cases fail to ensure that no suspects are left behind. be identified, according to the press release.
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Officials say the labels will protect the public from further break-ins and theft and force “these career criminals to choose a more honest way of making a living.”
However, criminal defense attorney Nick Freeman told Sky News it could be a waste of taxpayer dollars.
“The technology is not foolproof, burglars are very adept at getting around it,” Freeman said. “Plus, the tag is visible. It can be a badge of honor, or it can be a stigma. People may be ashamed to walk the streets with a tag because it makes it obvious that someone is a criminal.”
Officials hope the beacons will reduce an estimated burden of £ 4.8 billion ($ 5.7 billion) “such crimes impose on taxpayers every year,” the statement added.
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Sobriety labels have already been launched in Wales to monitor alcohol consumption and tackle alcohol-related crime.
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