South West burglars to be tracked using GPS following prison release

GPS tags
GPS tags like this will be fitted to offenders when they are released from prison.

Two West Country police forces signed up to take part in a world-first scheme which will see convicted burglars tracked with GPS tags following their release from prison.

Avon and Somerset Police and Gloucestershire Police are among six UK forces that will start monitoring tagged offenders from April 12.

The aim of the scheme - described as a world-first by the Ministry of Justice - is to cut reoffending rates.

Currently, more than half of those convicted of theft and burglary go on to reoffend within a year.

Avon and Somerset, and Gloucestershire Police are among six forces that will be involved with the scheme from next month.

Burglars, robbers and thieves that have served a prison sentence of a year or more will be automatically fitted with a tag on release - allowing their whereabouts to be monitored by GPS satellites 24 hours a day for up to 12 months.

Police will be able to work with the prison and probation services to investigate whether those fitted with tags have been in the vicinity of recent burglaries, thefts and robberies.

The Ministry of Justice says it could provide the crucial evidence needed to catch offenders.

Kit Malthouse, Minister for Crime and Policing, said: “Being burgled or robbed is devastating and I understand how frustrating it is when the perpetrators can’t be caught, both for the public and the police.

The scheme will be extended to a further 13 force areas in September.

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