'Sobriety ankle tags' rolled out across England

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Man wearing sobriety tag

A scheme to fit electronic tags on offenders to see if they are breaching court-ordered drinking bans is being rolled out across England.

The "sobriety tags" monitor a wearer's sweat levels every 30 minutes, and alert probation services if alcohol is detected.

Offenders breaching their abstinence order can then be returned to court to face further sanctions.

The scheme has been in operation across Wales since October.

The government said more than 100 people have been tagged there since then, with offenders staying sober on over 95% of days monitored.

The rollout across England was meant to begin in late 2020, but has been delayed.

Under the scheme, courts will be able to hand out "alcohol abstinence orders" to offenders who commit crimes fuelled by alcohol.

These can require the offender to abstain from alcohol for up to four months and wear the electronic tag to monitor compliance.

Policing and Crime Minister Kit Malthouse said the tags were a "powerful new tool" to combat alcohol-fuelled violence and help steer offenders away from "bad habits".

The tags can only be used with offenders over the age of 18, who are not dependent on alcohol or have certain medical conditions.

The government says the tags can distinguish the difference between drinks and other types of alcohol - such as in hand sanitiser or perfume.

The scheme has already been trialled in Humberside, Lincolnshire, North Yorkshire and London.