Knife crime offenders in Southwark will now be tagged with GPS trackers when they come out of prison, in a bid to stop a cycle of reoffending.
The Mayor’s Office announced from Monday, February 18, that up to 100 offenders who have served custodial sentences for knife-related will be tagged with the devices, to try and stop them from going on to committing other crimes.
The scheme is being trialled on over-eighteens in four London boroughs with high rates of knife crime: Southwark, Lambeth, Lewisham and Croydon. In 2017-18, Southwark had the highest number of knife crimes in the capital, with nearly 900 offences.
GPS trackers are believed to be a deterrent, and help people at risk of being drawn back into a criminal lifestyle or gang environment to think twice.
Their movements are automatically checked against locations of reported crimes, with any significant data matches passed onto the police.
Carina Heckroodt, head of London extremism, gangs and organised crime unit in the National Probation Service’s London Division said: “This new pilot is a significant step forward in harnessing new technology to strengthen the supervision of offenders, particularly those who are at risk of being drawn in to a gang environment and other criminal networks.
“These tags will provide a constant physical reminder of an offender’s licence conditions, encouraging them to comply with their restrictions and deterring them from further offending and protect victims.”
The news comes after the Home Office announced at the end of January the introduction of sweeping new powers to combat knife crime, including introducing knife crime prevention orders that can be imposed on anyone aged twelve and above believed to be at risk.
The orders will also place curfews and geographical limits, and can be used to limit time on social media. Breaching them could lead to a two year prison sentence.
Trading Standards have also been given a boost, with a half a million pound fund to help prosecute sellers who routinely flout the law and sell knives to under-eighteens, and the Government is also training ‘youth advocates’ on how to have safe conversations about knife crime.