THE MAYOR of London, Sadiq Khan, has announced that a programme to tag knife crime offenders with a tracking device on release from prison is to be expanded across almost every London borough to cut reoffending.
A pilot has been trialled since February, which has seen offenders who have served a custodial sentence for knife crimes – such as possession of a knife, robbery, aggravated burglary and GBH – wear GPS tags after release from prison as part of strict new licence conditions.
The initial pilot has been operating in Lewisham, Croydon, Southwark and Lambeth, and today (May 31) Khan has announced increased investment of more than £700,000 to expand the programme to 20 boroughs across the capital.
The increased investment will provide up to 300 GPS tags as part of the one-year pilot which is designed to reduce reoffending, improve rehabilitation and act as a deterrent from further offending.
It will also provide location data to be shared with the Met Police and Probation services to improve crime detection and help to enforce restrictions on the movements of offenders such as exclusion zones linked to a risk of re-offending, as well as monitor their attendance at locations linked to rehabilitation.
Those deemed at greatest risk of reoffending will be tagged and their movements checked against the location of reported crimes or areas they are not permitted to visit as part of their licence conditions.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I am determined to lead from the front and do everything in my power to tackle violent crime in London. That means supporting the Met Police in their relentless focus on arresting violent offenders, and investing in projects and programmes that are tackling the root causes of crime.
“As the Met Police Commissioner has confirmed, we are beginning to see a slowdown in both knife crime and violence in London, but we are in no way complacent and we are both committed to seeing a large and sustained reduction of these devastating crimes in our city.
“Enforcement alone will only suppress violence – and that’s why I am investing in innovative programmes like GPS tagging that will not only help in crime reduction but crucially reduce the risk of reoffending.”
The Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime has a contract with Buddi to manage both the tagging contract and its data. Both the police and probation services can access data via crime mapping and monitor licence requirements through Buddi and in line with data protection legislation.
Justice Secretary David Gauke said: “I welcome the expansion of this pilot across the capital, which is yet another step forward in harnessing innovative technology to strengthen the supervision of offenders in the community.
“Earlier this year, we announced the roll out of location monitoring across the country to better protect victims, increase public protection and build confidence in community sentences. We have fully supported MOPAC in developing and expanding this pilot and we are committed to working together to tackle knife crime and its devastating consequences.”