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Sentencing: Offenders with drink issues to wear alcohol prison tag in pilot

A new pilot scheme will see offenders convicted of crimes related to their drinking asked to wear a new type of ankle bracelet that can monitor their alcohol consumption, in a bid to tackle the link between excess alcohol consumption and crime.

The consequences of alcohol-related offences are thought to affect around 1% of the entire UK population, with around 1m alcohol related violent incidents recorded in England and Wales each year.

Alcohol-related offences include those where drinking is part of the offence, such as drink driving or being drunk and disorderly, but also those where alcohol plays a part, such as in alcohol fuelled assaults and anti-social behaviour.

Now the government is hoping that a new pilot scheme running in four London boroughs may allow courts for the first time to impose abstinence orders on criminals, in a bid to tackle their alcohol-related offending reports the BBC.

Up to 150 offenders will participate in a new trial that will see them fitted with a type of ankle bracelet that can monitor the level of alcohol being secreted in their sweat.

The bracelets will then be able to tell a parole officer or drug and alcohol liaison service officer whether the user has been drinking.

The 12-month trial will operate in Lambeth, Southwark, Sutton and Croydon, and offenders will be asked to wear the bracelets for up to four months at a time.

The bracelets will be imposed as part of new alcohol abstinence and monitoring requirements, introduced by the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012.

If the wearer is found to have been drinking they would face the imposition of tougher penalties.

A spokesman for the Mayor of London's office said:

"The Alcohol Abstinence and Monitoring Requirement (AAMR) requirement is already law. Under the AAMR, an individual can be required to abstain from alcohol for a fixed period of time as part of a community order or suspended sentence order. An order has been signed by Justice Secretary Chris Grayling to commence the pilot."