In world’s first, thieves in UK to wear GPS tags to control crimes

In a first such experiment across the world, thieves and robbers in UK will be made to wear GPS tags to control crimes. Under the new rules, convicts who’ve been jailed for a year or more will be tied up with GPS tags on release. This will allow authorities to track their movements 24/7 and stop them from recommitting offences.

As over half of those convicted of theft and burglary recommit a crime within a year and about 80 per cent of cases resulting in no suspect being identified, the Ministry of Justice said the new rules will add to police’s arsenal extra intelligence to nab such people. By monitoring their movements, it can drive down the impulse to reoffend and, if they reoffend, the police will be allowed to catch up with them much more quickly, because they’ll know exactly if they were at the scene of the crime at the time. Police will be able to work with the Prison and Probation Service staff to probe whether the released offenders on the tags were present in areas of recent burglaries, thefts and robberies.

This could provide the security personnel with key evidence required to nab the perpetrators. The intention is the tags will also act as a deterrent, protecting people from further burglaries and thefts and forcing “career criminals” to choose a more honest way of making a living. The Ministry of Justice said it is hoped this novel approach will reduce the estimated 4.8 billion pounds burden such crimes place on the taxpayer every year. 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.

The scheme will initially launch in six England police force areas of Avon and Somerset, Cheshire, Gloucestershire, Gwent, Humberside and West Midlands on April 12 and it is estimated 250 offenders will be tagged in the first six months. It will then be extended to a further 13 areas in September. Police officers will be able to submit any burglaries, thefts or robberies they are investigating to a dedicated unit overseen by the 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.

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