12th April 2021

Prolific burglars, robbers and thieves to wear GPS tags in Avon and Somerset

Avon and Somerset Police is one of six forces taking part in a world-first scheme involving burglars, thieves and robbers being made to wear GPS tags on release from prison.

Under new rules, burglars, robbers and thieves that have served a prison sentence of a year or more will be automatically fitted with a tag on release, allowing their whereabouts to be monitored by GPS satellites 24 hours a day for up to 12 months.

Police will work with HM Prison and Probation Service staff to investigate whether those on the tags have been in the vicinity of recent burglaries, thefts and robberies.

The intention is the tags will also act as a deterrent, protecting the public from further burglaries and thefts and targeting so-called ‘career criminals’.

DCI Dickon Turner, who leads the Integrated Offender Management team at Avon and Somerset Police, said:

“We’re pleased to be one of the initial six forces taking part in this scheme and we estimate around 60 offenders will be tagged within the first six months in our force area.

This innovative partnership approach will provide another tool we can use to help break the cycle of re-offending and reduce the amount of acquisitive crime committed.

We know burglaries, robberies and vehicle crime causes untold misery to victims.

We believe this scheme will intensify our ability to tackle these offences head-on and bring prolific offenders to justice.”

The scheme will initially launch in six police force areas (Avon and Somerset, Cheshire, Gloucestershire, Gwent, Humberside and West Midlands) on 12 April and will be extended to a further 13 areas in September.

Police officers will be able to submit any burglaries, thefts or robberies they are investigating to a dedicated unit overseen by HM Prison and Probation Service.

Trained staff will then be able to check the location history of those on tags against the details of the crime, allowing police to either rule out or investigate suspects further.