Posted by Joe Talora, Local Democracy Reporter
Domestic violence offenders in London will be “tagged” with GPS tracking devices as a first UK pilot is expanding to “increase protection for victims,” Sadiq Khan announced.
Building on a successful program launched in 2019 to tag knife criminals with followers after they were released from prison, the Mayor of London announced in March this year that the program would be expanded to include domestic molesters.
More than 600 offenders have been tagged since 2019, including 55 domestic violence offenders since March after City Hall invested £ 2 million.
This week City Hall confirmed that it will provide an additional £ 350,000 to equip an additional 300 GPS tracking devices for knife crime and domestic violent offenders after their release from prison.
The tags allow perpetrators to be tracked at any time to ensure they are not violating the terms of their probation period, such as: B. by approaching their victims.
Sadiq Khan said such measures can “change the behavior of offenders” while ensuring that those who reoffend are “quickly returned to prison”.
Mr. Khan said, “The fight against violence is about real long-term change and turning the lives of those at risk of relapse and violence. Because of this, I’m increasing my investment in GPS tags for knife criminals and domestic violence abusers.
“In London we saw the impact that tagging offenders can have on release from prison to ensure that they qualify for release and that those who have re-offended are quickly returned to prison. This innovative program aims to change the behavior of criminals, reduce relapses and better protect victims. “
Of the 600 tagged offenders since 2019, more than half have successfully completed their probationary period, while 160 have been returned to prison for violating detention conditions.
The expansion of the program was welcomed by the domestic violence charity Women’s Aid, who said that “better protection for survivors … is vital”.
Sophie Francis-Canfield, Policy Manager at Women’s Aid, said, “Women’s Aid is pleased that this program recognizes that domestic abuse doesn’t end when a relationship ends – women continue to experience abuse and violence after the perpetrators leave prison Enforcement are so important.
“Better protection for survivors and children who are continually harmed is crucial, but this must always be done with the technical support of women’s organizations. Pilot projects like this should focus on survivors as they are the experts on the persistent and ongoing risk an abuser poses. “
She added that the program would provide “crucial learning” to the government before any potential changes to the Domestic Abuse Act that could result in electronic tagging for domestic violence offenders being more widely adopted in the future.
In the past nine months, more than 2,000 suspects have been arrested by a new unit of the Metropolitan Police set up to tackle domestic violence and sexual exploitation.
Metropolitan Police Commander Melanie Dales said fighting violent crime “remains the Met’s priority,” adding that the Met has recognized the risks that lockdowns have posed to domestic violence victims since the pandemic began, ” very conscious “.
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