AN MP has said that new legislation mandating sobriety tags for some prison leavers will help to address "booze related crime and violence in Andover.

Prison leavers across Hampshire and the UK will be ordered to wear a sobriety tag, which monitors alcohol levels in sweat, if their probation officer thinks they could reoffend when drinking. This is intended to help probation officers keep a closer eye on offenders’ behaviour and support them to turn their backs on crime.

Andover’s MP, Kit Malthouse, who is also the minister for crime and policing and is responsible for the proposal, first brought alcohol tags to the UK from the USA when he was Deputy Mayor for Policing in London. So far the tags, which test the offenders skin every 30 minutes to ensure sobriety, have been fitted to over 70 booze offenders in Hampshire and to hundreds nationwide, with a 97 per cent compliance rate.

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Kit Malthouse, MP for North West Hampshire said: “We have had our fair share of booze related crime and violence in Andover town centre and this kind of innovation, which can also be used for domestic violence offenders, will make a big difference.

"When I first brought alcohol tags to the UK over a decade ago, I knew that given the chance, they could have a huge impact on crime. The great results we have seen so far, and now

the expansion announced last week, mean that the use of tagging technology is firmly embedded as a critical tool for offender managers, proving a huge incentive for offenders to change.”

Alcohol is believed to play a part in 39 percent of violent crime in the UK and roughly 20 percent of offenders supervised by the Probation Service are identified as having drinking issues. The tags also give offenders the incentive to break bad habits as breaching the alcohol restrictions could see them back in prison.

The move is part of the government’s plan to cut crime, expanding the use of innovative technology like tags to protect the public and drive down reoffending.

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