Burglary is a dreadful crime, which often leaves victims feeling traumatised and violated. Too many people in Cheltenham have suffered that searing experience. So it’s positive news that a new crime-prevention initiative to drive down reoffending is coming to Gloucestershire.
From 12 April, burglars and those convicted of acquisitive crimes that have served a prison sentence of a year or more, will now wear a tag on release, allowing their whereabouts to be monitored by GPS for up to twelve months.
With more than half of those convicted of theft and burglary reoffending within a year, and almost 80% of cases resulting in no suspect being identified, this will be a key extra source of intelligence to help police catch prolific offenders.
Police will now be able to work with Probation Service staff to investigate whether those on the tags have been in the vicinity of recent burglaries, thefts and robberies. It could provide the crucial evidence needed to catch the perpetrators.
Prevention is always better than cure, and the intention is that the tags will also act as a deterrent, guiding offenders down a better path.
I passionately believe that redemption is always possible, and so we need to tackle the key drivers of reoffending. One core priority is making sure prisoners have accommodation on their release, to provide a crucial period of stability and certainty.
That’s why I want to deliver a commitment to twelve weeks of guaranteed accommodation on leaving prison. We know that not uncommonly offenders suffer with substance abuse and mental health difficulties, and suitable accommodation will free up ‘bandwidth’ to help address those problems.
Technology provides new opportunities to detect crime and turn lives around. I am determined to do everything in my power to protect people in Cheltenham, whilst providing the chance for offenders to turn a corner and make an honest contribution to our community.