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Bracelet scheme for drink offenders

Criminals convicted of serious drink-related offences will be fitted with US-style "sobriety bracelets" to keep them dry under a new pilot scheme.

Alcohol intake will be monitored by the electronic tags, which have been worn by American offenders including Hollywood actress Lindsay Lohan and could be tested in London from this summer.

Anyone continuing to drink will be arrested and brought before a judge who has the option of sending them back to prison, City Hall said.

Inspired by a programme in the US state of South Dakota, the capital will be the first city in England to trial the system on persistent alcohol offenders convicted of crimes such as assault and criminal damage.

The Government has provided £400,000 to London Mayor Boris Johnson to fund the project and the mayor is said to be keen to see it extended.

It is hoped the bracelets, which monitor the alcohol level in the wearer's blood, will reduce drink-related crime in the capital.

Often tagged to the ankle, they work by measuring air and perspiration emissions from the skin every 30 minutes.

Blood alcohol levels as low as 0.02% can reportedly be detected and the tags can tell when alcohol was consumed before electronically transmitting that information to a base monitoring station.

Mr Johnson said: "I am grateful to my colleagues in Whitehall for recognising that tackling crime is a top priority in this city and we must use every innovation at our disposal to keep on making London safer. This proposal is welcome but we still need the legislation passing to give the necessary powers in order to have a major impact."

Kit Malthouse, deputy mayor for crime and policing, said the results of the scheme in the US showed how effective it could be. "We hope this will now be the template for the wider reforms needed to fully implement the wider sobriety scheme we're lobbying for, which can successfully tackle wider issues like domestic violence and makes people pay for daily testing," he said.


From Belfast Telegraph