Call to fast track new tags on criminals as Hartlepool among worst places in UK for reoffending
The region’s new crime commissioner is calling on a government minister to prioritise Cleveland in a roll-out of satellite-enabled ankle tags for prolific offenders.
Steve Turner, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland, has has written to Crime and Policing Minister Kit Malthouse to recommend that Cleveland is one of 13 forces selected as part of a wider roll-out of the GPS tags in September.
He cites the region having some of the highest reoffending rates in the country with Hartlepool reported to have the third highest level in England and Wales.
The tags work by constantly transmitting the wearer’s location via satellite to a monitoring centre to remotely record information on the whereabouts of offenders and defendants.
The Ministry of Justice launched a pilot in March this year, with seven forces taking part and an estimated 250 offenders due to be tagged within the first six months.
Mr Turner, who was elected earlier this month, said: “I have been vocal about the need for the criminal justice system to use technology to help them detect, apprehend and manage offenders in our communities, particularly those who repeatedly commit offences.
“Our communities have been plagued for too long by the same small cohort of offenders who are not deterred by the current system and something needs to change.
“These tags will offer Cleveland Police a 24-hour-a-day insight into the movements of these serial offenders and such rigorous supervision should act as a deterrent to make them think twice about a life of crime.”
He said Cleveland has some of the highest reoffending rates in the country with 38.4% of offenders going on to commit further crime.
Latest published figures for Hartlepool showed it had a reoffending rate of 42% with just 28 criminals said to account for almost a quarter of all crime committed in the town.
Shoplifting of one of the main crimes that is contributing to the figures.
Police told a meeting of the Safer Hartlepool Partnership in January that a lot of work is being done to tackle the issues and they have a presence within Middleton Grange Shopping Centre.