Sobriety bracelets will be used by Northants Police in a first for the country to tackle crime.
The alcohol detection tags will be offered to as part of a pilot scheme as an alternative to sending people to prison. Offenders who accept a formal police caution can agree, as a condition, to stay sober for a maximum of 120 days. The tag is fitted around the ankle, much like an electronic curfew tag, and works by testing the levels of alcohol in the wearer’s sweat, sampling it every 30 minutes, 24 hours a day.
Police and Crime Commissioner Adam Simmonds said: “The tags mean that we can monitor alcohol consumption 24/7 and then hold people to account for drinking when they shouldn’t. They are primarily aimed at the binge drinker. Events like Dry January indicate there can be a behaviour change after a month’s abstinence, while evidence from the USA suggests real behaviour change can result after three months.”
If an offender declines the offer of a ‘sobriety bracelet’ other sanctions available within the criminal justice system will be used. The tags have been used extensively in the USA with drink-drivers and have performed well. In the UK, Glasgow police used the method to deal with violent offenders.
Mr Simmonds concluded: “This is one example of how we are taking a pioneering approach to tackling alcohol-related violence, balancing the need for public safety while providing accountability and alternatives other than jail to those creating problems due to alcohol misuse.”