Sobriety Tags Stigmatise People With Alcohol Issues, Campaigners Warn

In an effort to reduce alcohol-driven crime "sobriety tags" will be rolled out across England to ensure offenders stick to drinking bans.

People who commit alcohol-driven crime to be fitted with ‘sobriety tags’
Sobriety ankle tags/Picture credit: BBC

In an effort to reduce alcohol-driven crime “sobriety tags” will be rolled out across England to ensure offenders stick to drinking bans.

Under the new government plans those who flout the abstinence order can be taken to court to face further sentences or fines. The court will be allowed to give “alcohol abstinence orders” to offenders who commit  crimes fuelled by alcohol.

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Offenders will be ordered to wear the electronic tags which monitors sweat level every 30 minutes and notify probation services if alcohol is detected, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).

The minister of crime and policing, Kit Malthouse backed the idea stating that it significantly dropped alcohol-driven crime in Wales  since it was introduced in October.

“This smart and powerful new tool is helping the fight against alcohol-fuelled violence, which ruins too many lives and families and creates mayhem in our town centre,” the minister said.

However, campaigners have expressed disapproval of the move saying that it is only a “short-term solution to a long-term problem” and will further “stigmatise” those with alcohol issues.

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Nuno Albuquerque, from UK Addiction Treatment Group, said: “What they’re doing in effect is just slapping a sticking plaster over the top of a person’s open wound. Tagging them simply stigmatises them for drinking alcohol and doesn’t address the root cause of the problem.”

The so called sobriety tags have already been trialled in Humberside, Lincolnshire, North Yorkshire and London.

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