Have your say: Will making burglars wear tags after they're released help stop reoffending?

·3-min read
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits South Wales Police Headquarters in Bridgend, South Wales, Britain February 17, 2021. Alastair Grant/Pool via REUTERS
Boris Johnson has unveiled plans to make convicted burglars wear GPS tags upon thier release from prison. (Reuters)

Boris Johnson has unveiled plans for burglars and thieves to be tracked using electronic tags when released from prison as part of a new line of measures aimed at "beating crime".

All burglars, robbers and thieves who have served a jail sentence of a year will automatically be fitted with a GPS tag on their release, allowing their movements to be tracked. 

Offenders will also be required to carry out unpaid work such as cleaning the streets and picking litter while they are on probation so they are “visibly and publicly making reparations for their crimes”.

There are also plans to relax restrictions on stop and search powers for police.

The GPS scheme, which will be implemented in half of police forces in England and Wales, will enable officers to cross-reference the location of prolific offenders with crimes as part of a move to reduce reoffending.

Ministers will extend the use of so-called 'sobriety tags', which detect alcohol in the sweat of offenders. They are fitted to released prisoners who have committed alcohol-related crimes to discourage them from drinking.

Writing in the Daily Mail, Priti Patel said she intends to implement Johnson's plans and make "yobs pay back to the communities they've blighted".

Patel wrote: "The public want to see justice done and criminals pay the price for their crimes. They want to see yobs pay back to the communities they've blighted by their thoughtless actions.

Home Secretary Priti Patel at the Home Office in central London, where she signed a new agreement with her French counterpart Gerald Darmanin aimed at curbing the number of migrants crossing the English Channel in small boats. (Photo by Stefan Rousseau/PA Images via Getty Images)
Priti Patel has said she intends to implement Johnson's plans and make 'yobs pay back to the communities they've blighted'. (PA Images via Getty Images)

"That's why we are relaunching unpaid work so it is more visible, to ensure offenders are publicly making reparations for their crimes by undertaking work that is valuable to their local areas."

Critics have described the plan as a "gimmick" that will do nothing to make the streets safer. Labour has pointed out that the Tories cut the number of police by more than 20,000 after taking office in 2010.

The Police Federation will on Thursday deliver a letter to Downing Street setting out the anger of the rank-and-file at a pay freeze.

Criticising the plans, the letter reads: "We don't need old ideas presented as new; we need genuine investment for the whole of the criminal justice system and genuine consultation over new ideas. 

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"Without that this is just another ill thought-out initiative.

"Police officers are sick of gimmicks. Sick of underfunding. Sick of mixed messaging putting police at risk. Sick of government contempt for police.

"It's time for a total reset."

Johnson will also permanently end restrictions imposed by former prime minister Theresa May on the police’s use of stop and search as he tries to tackle knife crime.

The PM said: “If we are to succeed in levelling up this country we must give everyone the security and confidence that comes from having a safe street and a safe home. 

"None of us can fulfil our potential if we live in fear; none of us can rise up if we’re held down by those who would do us harm.

“If we as a society, as a country, are to truly flourish then we have to start by beating crime — and I’m proud that this government has a plan to do just that.”

Watch: PM plans hi-vis 'chain gangs' to fight anti-social behaviour

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