Some offenders will have their alcohol levels monitored by ankle tags in a new move that City Hall hopes will eventually help combat crime in our pissed-up city.
Boris Johnson today announced a pilot scheme in Croydon, Lambeth, Southwark and Sutton, that gives courts the option to sentence offenders to an ‘alcohol abstinence monitoring requirement’. That means an ankle tag, which monitors the amount of alcohol released in perspiration, and must be worn 24 hours a day. If the wearer drinks, their probation officer will be alerted. The police and City Hall expect around 150 people to be fitted with tags during the year-long pilot, such as repeated drink drivers or people who commit assault/ABH after getting tanked on a night out. People dependent on alcohol won’t be tagged.
The Mayor has been lobbying government for this new sentencing power and this is a ‘proof of concept’ pilot. It will test whether courts actually use the new power, whether offenders comply and if the monitoring functions properly. Nobody should draw any other conclusions from the pilot, though ultimately it’s hoped the system could help reduce the costs of booze-related crime (nationally, between £8bn-£13bn a year) and hospital admission — up to 40% of London’s A&E admissions on weekends involve the demon drink.