Thousands more burglars face 24-hour tags in bid to cut reoffending


Thousands more burglars released from jail are to be fitted with GPS tags so they can be tracked 24/7, the Justice Secretary has announced.

Brandon Lewis is to extend electronic tagging to all burglars who serve 90 days or more in jail so police forces can check every burglary in their area against the movements of the criminals to see if they could be suspects.

Probation and police officers will be able to request and enforce tagging as a condition of the freed burglar’s licence so they can be tracked every minute of the day to within a few feet.

Refusal to wear the tag would be a breach of their licence, leading to them returning to prison.

The order could cover the entire period of their licence, so a burglar released half way through a six month sentence could be tagged for a further three months.

The Government believes the scheme will not only act as a deterrent because the burglars will know they can be tracked, but will also help police solve offences which they suspect have been committed by known criminals.

Nearly 80 per cent of the 402,000 burglaries a year result in no suspect being identified, while more than half of those convicted of burglary and theft reoffend within a year.

'This isn’t instead of prison, this is on top of it'

Mr Lewis told the Daily Mail: "One of the things we can do on that is to be a bit tougher on criminals.

"We know that reoffending rates are high, particularly for people who have not gone into active employment, and having people with tags means we’ve got more control and understanding and can monitor what they’re doing, where they are.

"We can see if somebody was in the vicinity of a crime if that happens again.

"This isn’t instead of prison, this is on top of it – we’re being tougher with people who have committed an offence, but you know, people who burgle and steal are the scourge of their communities."

Tagging has already been introduced for burglars who serve more than a year in jail, with 656 being monitored as at March 31 2022 for up to a year, according to Ministry of Justice figures.

The extension of the scheme to burglars who serve 90 days or more is expected to see up to 2,000 more tagged by March 2025.