United Kingdom

Priti Patel vows to crack down on crime with GPS and alcohol tags for offenders

Criminals will be made to clean up streets and green spaces to ensure justice is 'seen to be done'.

Writing in today's Daily Mail, Priti Patel promises to make 'yobs pay back to the communities they've blighted'.

The scheme is part of Boris Johnson's Beating Crime Plan under which more burglars will be tagged on release from jail.

The plan says GPS monitoring of offenders will be extended to cover half the country's police forces.

Tracking the movements of freed burglars will help 'deter and detect further acquisitive crimes'.

Unveiling the plan today, the Prime Minister will announce a trial of alcohol monitoring tags, which check whether those guilty of drink-fuelled crime stay off booze.

Officers will also be given more powers to seize knives under a relaxation of restrictions on their stop and search powers.

Writing in today's Daily Mail, Priti Patel (pictured) promises to make 'yobs pay back to the communities they've blighted'

Miss Patel says: 'The public want to see justice done and criminals pay the price for their crimes. They want to see yobs pay back to the communities they've blighted by their thoughtless actions.

'That's why we are relaunching unpaid work so it is more visible, to ensure offenders are publicly making reparations for their crimes by undertaking work that is valuable to their local areas, such as cleaning the streets, estates, alleyways and open spaces of litter and other visible signs of disorder in local neighbourhoods.'

Mr Johnson's plan will also ensure that every neighbourhood in England and Wales has a named police officer that residents can contact.

Critics said the plan was a mere 'gimmick' that would do nothing to make the streets safer. Labour pointed out that the Tories cut the number of police by more than 20,000 after taking office in 2010.

The Police Federation will today deliver a letter to Downing Street setting out the anger of the rank-and-file at a pay freeze.

Mr Johnson's document also pledges:

As part of the plan, Mr Johnson wants to make community service more visible by getting offenders to clean up public places rather than working inside.

Many work in charity shops or in warehouses sorting clothes from charity collection bins. A number will be employed clearing waterways and canal paths as well as sprucing up woods and beaches. The offenders will wear hi-vis jackets.

The Government will trial the use of monitoring tags that detect alcohol in the sweat of offenders guilty of drink-fuelled crime. The test, which will take place on prison leavers in Wales, is to address the fact that alcohol is a significant driver of crime, playing a part in 39 per cent of all violent offences.

As part of the plan, Mr Johnson wants to make community service more visible by getting offenders to clean up public places rather than working inside (stock image)

On release offenders may be required to wear a tag and either not drink at all or not consume more than a certain amount.

Mr Johnson's plan includes permanently relaxing conditions on the use of section 60 stop and search powers to empower police to take more knives off the streets.

The conditions were imposed under the Tories in 2014 but are now being lifted.

1,500 more burglars, thieves and robbers to be GPS tagged 

Hundreds more burglars, robbers and thieves will be electronically tagged in a bid to cut down on reoffending, Boris Johnson’s new plan states.

Ministers expect that over the next year 1,500 more offenders will have their whereabouts monitored 24 hours a day for up to a year by GPS tags upon release from prison.

All burglars who have served a sentence of a year or more will be tagged.

At present this only occurs in six police forces in the country, but the scheme will be expanded to 13 more, ensuring it covers half of the country.

Police forces will be ranked in league tables according to how quickly they answer 999 and 101 calls to respond to the public’s plea for help.

It comes as some victims are waiting up to ten minutes for their 999 call to be answered due to the ‘pingdemic’ causing staff shortages. Emergency calls made in the West Midlands area during the early hours of Sunday were taking an average of four minutes to speak to an operator. Some call waiting times reportedly stretched to nearly ten minutes.

Yesterday Labour West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster said of the 999 league tables: ‘This is an extra layer of bureaucracy and a gimmick that will just add to the police’s workload and slow things down.’

The Police Federation – the officers’ union – said the return to targets would be a damaging and retrograde step.

It means an authorisation for stop and search no longer needs to be referred up to a senior officer. Inspectors can also search someone if they are concerned an incident involving serious violence 'may' – rather than 'will' – occur.

John Apter, the chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, will today deliver a letter to No 10 – just days after the group said it no longer had confidence in Miss Patel.

Criticising Mr Johnson's plan, the letter says: 'We don't need old ideas presented as new; we need genuine investment for the whole of the criminal justice system and genuine consultation over new ideas. Without that, this is just another ill-thought-out initiative.

'Police officers are sick of gimmicks. Sick of underfunding. Sick of mixed messaging putting police at risk. Sick of Government contempt for police. It's time for a total reset.'

Nick Thomas-Symonds, Labour's shadow home secretary, said: 'This announcement of rehashed policies won't make our streets safer.

'The Conservatives are all talk and no action when it comes to tackling crime. On their watch, police numbers are down and community policing has been decimated. Coupled with an insulting pay freeze, it is no wonder frontline police have declared no confidence in the Home Secretary.

'There are already targets for emergency response times and having named officers in wards is not enough to make up for the devastating scale of Conservative cuts to community policing.

'Little wonder that, on their watch, anti-social behaviour is rocketing, there are record low convictions for rape and violent crime is devastating communities.'

But Mr Johnson said last night: 'I promised to back the police and make people safer, because we cannot level up the country when crime hits the poorest hardest and draws the most vulnerable into violence.

'That is why my Government has remained unstinting in its efforts to protect the British public and this plan delivers a fresh commitment, as we emerge from the impacts of the pandemic, to have less crime, fewer victims and a safer society. 

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