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Barking and Dagenham knife crime offenders will have their location tracked by GPS

PUBLISHED: 11:54 04 June 2019 | UPDATED: 11:54 04 June 2019

A man wearing an electronic  tag. Picture: PA

A man wearing an electronic tag. Picture: PA

PA Archive/PA Images

Barking and Dagenham knife crime offenders will be tagged with a tracking device when they are released from prison.

An electronic wrist tag. Picture: PAAn electronic wrist tag. Picture: PA

Former criminals who are "greater risk of reoffending" will have their location tracked and cross referenced with crimes in the area.

The scheme is made possible by a £700,000 investment from the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan after a successful trial in south London.

The money will pay for up to 300 GPS tags for one year and is also being rolled out in Redbridge, Newham and several other London boroughs.

As well as making sure former criminals are not committing more crimes, police and the probation service can make sure those tagged are going to rehabilitation appointments and not breaching licensing conditions by going into restricted zones.

The pilot programme seeks to rehabilitate offenders and change behaviour to help move people away from the increased risk of violence and is supported by London's new Violence Reduction Unit.

Mr Khan said: "I am determined to lead from the front and do everything in my power to tackle violent crime in London.

"That means supporting the Met Police in their relentless focus on arresting violent offenders, and investing in projects and programmes that are tackling the root causes of crime.

"As the Met Police Commissioner has confirmed, we are beginning to see a slowdown in both knife crime and violence in London, but we are in no way complacent and we are both committed to seeing a large and sustained reduction of these devastating crimes in our city.

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"Enforcement alone will only suppress violence - and that's why I am investing in innovative programmes like GPS tagging that will not only help in crime reduction but crucially reduce the risk of reoffending."

The Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime has a contract with Buddi to manage both the tagging contract and its data.

Officers and probation staff will be able to view locations via an app, which is in line with data protection legislation.

A probation officer working on the pilot said: "GPS tagging is an invaluable tool which uses technology to encourage offenders to comply with their restrictions, deterring them from further offending and better protect victims. The scheme also helps us to have open and transparent conversations about an offender's lifestyle and behaviour which contributes to more effective engagement and robust risk management."

Gabriel Amahwe, executive director of probation in London, added: "Knife crime is a serious problem for young people in London with outcomes that can result in life changing injuries and even death for victims, as well as lifelong consequences for the perpetrators of these offences.

"GPS tagging is a very powerful tool to help my employees closely monitor targeted offenders on licence in the community. It also shows great promise in forcing our service users to think more carefully before they go out carrying a knife or get involved in knife crime themselves."

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