Sussex Police hails voluntary tagging trial a success

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Sussex Police says a trial scheme where convicted offenders across West Sussex were offered to wear tags had been a success.

The scheme gives police live information on the wearers’ locations but unlike compulsory tagging orders, does not involve curfew checks and home visits.

Around 20 offenders had worn the devices, some for several months, since the initiative started last July.

Toni Pettman, West Sussex Integrated Offender Management (IOM) manager, said: “The tags put the emphasis onto the offenders to give them a chance to get their life back on track and face up to the crimes they have committed in the past.

“As it is voluntary, it encourages better relationships between the offenders, probation and police, often essential in reducing reoffending.

“Ex-offenders are under no obligation to wear the tags but many see the benefits in getting their lives back together without curfew checks and home visits.”

A number of wearers endorsed the scheme and others who had tags removed asked them to be refitted.

One offender said wearing the tag prevented him going on a crime spree after an argument with his partner because he knew he would be apprehended.

Detective Chief Inspector Tanya Jones, who is overseeing the scheme, said the initiative is part of Sussex Police’s crackdown on burglaries.

Katy Bourne, Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner, who had backed the scheme, said: “Advances in the use of technologies like GPS tagging means that Sussex Police can continue to cut crime whilst ensuring officers can remain out on the streets in the heart of the communities they serve.

“This innovative approach reduces reoffending and also supports rehabilitation by helping offenders change their behaviour.

“Tackling burglary has been a consistent theme during my monthly performance and accountability meetings with the Chief Constable, as it remains a concern for local people.”