People who commit alcohol related crimes may soon be forced to wear an ankle monitor to ensure they are not drinking. The new scheme is being implemented in 4 London Boroughs, Croydon, Lambeth, Southwark and Sutton.
Courts in these boroughs will be able to ban people from drinking and use the ankle monitor to enforce that ban. It is expected that around 150 people will be made to wear the ankle monitor for four months as part of the punishment for their alcohol related criminal activity.
The monitors work by detecting alcohol in sweat and air and checks users’ blood alcohol levels every half hour. If someone wearing the ankle monitor consumes alcohol, the device will register this and record it. This can then be used by a judge in a future court hearing.
It is important to note that this scheme is designed to reduce the number of crimes linked to alcohol, it is not a treatment or a deterrent for people with an alcohol dependency or addiction. As such the government does not intend to use the monitors to fight alcohol abuse but rather as a way to target people with a specific history of criminal activity while intoxicated.
London Mayor Boris Johnson said, "Alcohol-fuelled criminal behaviour is a real scourge on our high streets, deterring law-abiding citizens from enjoying our great city, especially at night, placing massive strain on frontline services, whilst costing businesses and the taxpayer billions of pounds. I pledged to tackle this booze culture by making the case to Government for new powers to allow mandatory alcohol testing as an additional enforcement option for the courts."
While authorities claim the tags have a 95% success rate, many critics say that trying to dictate someone else’s drinking is intrusive and wrong. They believe that other actions will be more effective in preventing alcohol related crime.
A similar trial was done in Scotland where these ankle monitors were used but the monitors were not adopted.
To learn more about alcohol check out the Life Works Alcohol Knowledge Centre.