Humberside will pilot GPS tags scheme to deter burglars and robbers

The Humberside Police area is one of six that will pilot a new scheme to cut burglaries and robberies.

Wednesday, 17th March 2021, 2:50 pm
The Humberside Police area is one of six that will pilot a new scheme to cut burglaries and robberies. Photo posed by model.

Burglars, thieves and robbers released from prison will be made to wear GPS tags to track their movements, the Government has announced.

Under new rules, the criminals that have served a prison sentence of a year or more will be automatically fitted with a tag on release, allowing their whereabouts to be monitored by GPS satellites 24 hours a day for up to 12 months.

Police will be able to work with HM Prison and Probation Service staff to investigate whether those on the tags have been in the vicinity of recent burglaries, thefts and robberies. It could provide the crucial evidence needed to catch the perpetrators.

The intention is the tags will also act as a deterrent, protecting the public from further burglaries and forcing career criminals to choose a more honest way of making a living. It is hoped the scheme will reduce the estimated £4.8 billion burden such crimes place on the taxpayer every year.

The scheme will initially launch in six police force areas, including Humberside, on Monday, 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 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.

Policing Minister Kit Malthouse said: “Being burgled or robbed is devastating and I understand how frustrating it is when the perpetrators can’t be caught, both for the public and the police.

“Tagging these prolific offenders so we know where they are 24 hours a day should be powerful persuasion to change their ways and will help police find and charge them if they don’t. It’s another tool helping probation staff to cut crime and keep the public safe.”

Superintendent Jo Roe said: “We are extremely pleased to be involved in the pilot in support of the UK government’s scheme, which begins on Monday, April 12, to reduce serious acquisitive and violent crime. Keeping our communities safe is our top priority and so we had no hesitation in volunteering to participate in the trial initiative.

“We recognise the recurring behaviour of some offenders who commit neighbourhood crime, including burglary, and this pilot scheme presents significant opportunities to work more closely with partner agencies such as the Probation Service to jointly improve our management of offenders through local Offender Management Programmes.

“A particularly useful benefit we see is the ability to cross-reference the GPS data obtained through the tags with reports of new thefts, robberies and burglaries.

“This information could be vital in placing offenders at a reported offence location, and will assist in the investigation of those crimes. Specifically it will help us to gather evidence and assist us in identifying and bringing offenders to justice quickly.

“Additionally, the rehabilitation of offenders is important. We hope this scheme will encourage those that have been repeat offenders to make different life choices away from crime, reduce the risk of people reoffending in our communities, and most importantly reduce the number of future victims of crime.”