Swanswell welcomes the introduction of ‘sobriety tags’ alongside treatment and interventions

31 July 2014

Swanswell believes that plans to use ‘sobriety tags’ on people convicted of serious drink-related offences will only work, if good quality treatment and interventions are offered alongside.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to news today that several London boroughs will begin a pilot scheme, where mandatory ‘sobriety tags’ will be introduced to force abstinence for alcohol misuse offences, such as drink-driving, common assault and criminal damage.

Electronic ‘sobriety tags’ will be used to monitor the amount of alcohol in the blood, aiming to reduce the number of alcohol-related incidences and the cost of alcohol-related crime to statutory services, including the police and health.

 Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘It’s important to focus on the individuals that have committed a crime where alcohol use was a contributing factor. It's the person who commits the crime, not the alcohol, and if a period of abstinence can help them to address their offending behaviour, then any tool that helps people to take control of their drinking and take responsibility for their offending is welcomed.

‘Alcohol-related crime creates victims and we commend any method that helps with preventing these crimes.

It’s important the pilot scheme includes access to good quality treatment and interventions, as well as ‘sobriety tags’, otherwise they’ll fall into a revolving door of release, re-arrest, release and then re-arrest again – and that won’t work.

If the London boroughs taking part in the pilot are serious about getting to the root cause of crime, then they need to tackle the alcohol use alongside the criminal consequences.’

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