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News - 21 November 2012

Keeping a tag on crime

A GPS ankle tag has seen a 41% drop in the offending rates of the most prolific criminals. Unlike the usual tags for ex-offenders, which simply flag up whether someone has broken a curfew, the GPS device can show exactly where the wearer is at any time of the day or night.

According to probation trust chief executive Tessa Webb it is a welcome development for police and ex-offenders alike. She says: "We could see there would be benefits for the policing side, but what we perhaps hadn't anticipated was how much the people wearing them would like it. For them, there's the relief of not being pulled in every five minutes when they are trying to make a go of turning away from crime."

When Mark Turner was released from prison at the start of this year after serving 21 months for a string of 200 thefts, he soon had a knock on the door from the police. A crime had been committed in his area and, as a prolific offender with convictions stretching back to 1995, Turner was an obvious suspect. But thanks to the GPS tracker he was wearing around his ankle, he was able to prove that he was sticking to his vow to go straight.

Turner is one of 50 ex-offenders who have agreed to wear a GPS tracker as part of the successful Hertfordshire Horizons programme, set up by Hertfordshire Probation Trust and the police.

For the full story from The Guardian, click here.

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