Durham extends electronic tagging of offenders

Durham Constabulary is purchasing an additional 90 electronic tags for offenders following a successful pilot.

Apr 1, 2015
By Paul Jacques
Police-recorded hate crimes in England and Wales. PA Graphic. Source Home Office. Figure for 2019/20 not included due to missing data.

Durham Constabulary is purchasing an additional 90 electronic tags for offenders following a successful pilot.

The constabulary initially purchased ten tags in December 2014, which were used on 15 ‘volunteer’ offenders who had committed burglary and shoplifting offences.

The tags were monitored remotely and the pilot showed that the offenders wearing the tags did not commit any crimes, despite having previously amassed 467 separate offences between them. The tags led to three arrests, following which the police took no further action. Only one subject has reoffended since the tag was removed.

Detective Inspector Andy Crowe said they were expecting to issue the additional tags over the coming weeks.

“I am pleased that the pilot project worked successfully,” he said. “The aims of the project are to stop reoffending and support rehabilitation, meaning fewer victims of crime.

“The tags we have bought cost only a fraction of the money compared to the tags that most other forces have bought and this will be one of the biggest initiatives of its kind in England and Wales. It means that officers do not have to spend time visiting offenders and can spend their time on more important tasks.”

Durham police and crime commissioner Ron Hogg added: “Both public and businesses need to feel safe, and offenders need to know that they are being monitored. This is also a good example of how the force is going digital by investing in technology. It also offers up the opportunity of working more closely with our partners in probation services.”

Durham Constabulary also confirmed that it is due to complete the rollout of body-worn video (BWV) cameras to all frontline police officers, Special Constables and police community support officers this month.

Assistant Chief Officer Gary Ridley said: “This is a big step forward for the force and the community. We are the first force in the country to issue all frontline officers and staff with a BWV camera in order to capture evidence during the course of their duties.

“Both officers and staff regard them as helping them do their job more effectively and victims of crime can feel reassured that the cameras will help us deal with them more efficiently.”

He said a total of 800 cameras have been issued with training given to officers and staff.

Mr Hogg said the rollout of BWV cameras directly supports his objectives of “improving victim satisfaction and community confidence by giving officers the tools to do their job effectively”.

“It has also led to the speedier resolution of complaints against officers which is also a positive,” he added. “This is just one part of the investment in information technology, which I am keen for the force to maximise in order to manage the continued funding cuts imposed by the Government.”

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