Humberside Police are set to invest in more Buddi tracker devices to tackle re-offending by most prolific offenders or high risk Multi Agency Public Protection Agreement offenders after the Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Grove agreed funding to increase their roll out.
The Buddi Tracker is a personal tracking device system which works in a similar way to in-car Sat Nav systems and in trials by Humberside Police and other forces in the UK have been credited with cutting the numbers of crimes committed by known burglars, robbers and shoplifters.
The devices are locked in place round the ankles of high risk MAPPA offenders or prolific offenders, as part of their overall offender management plan. This allows detectives working within Integrated Offender Management Units to immediately check the whereabouts of the offender and also identify where they have been to rule them in or out of the offence.
Humberside Police and the Probation Trust commenced a pilot in December 2012 with six Buddi Trackers being fitted to offenders on a voluntary basis which has enabled the force to pinpoint the location of offenders at all times.
The trackers have proven a success over the past 20 months with over 100 offenders agreeing to be tagged as tag numbers increased to 20 tags across the force.
During the trial most wearers admitted they do not offend whilst wearing the tag as they know there is a strong likelihood that they will be arrested and see the tag as a strong deterrent.
Some sex offenders, who had frequented areas where young children gather, realised they would be questioned about their reasons for being in certain locations. They instead stayed at home or went elsewhere, thus reducing their likelihood of reoffending and safeguarding vulnerable members of our community.
Due to the success of the trial, from September 30 trackers will be made available to the force, with plans to increase to 40 devices by December 2014 after funding was agreed by the Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Grove.
Detective Chief Inspector Darren Webb who manages the Buddi Tagging Scheme said: “The offenders who have voluntarily engaged in being fitted with the trackers have on the most part found it has helped remove the temptation to reoffend. While those who have gone on to offend have been identified and quickly brought to justice.
“The force is committed to using technology like the Buddi Trackers. They have been a cost efficient and effective tool in the management of some of the force’s by most prolific offenders or high risk MAPPA offenders. By making more trackers available we will be able to offer it to more eligible offenders which can only be viewed as a positive step in protecting communities and dealing with offenders.
“For those offenders who are making positive progress we will also be able to leave the tags on for longer, therefore further help them break out of the reoffending cycle and increase the long term benefits for them and the communities they previously affected”
Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Grove said: “The funding I am providing to expand the use of tagging will I am sure have a significant impact on offending rates, and better protect the public. There are two areas in which increased tagging will do this; firstly the vast proportion of crime is committed by a small number of offenders. In the main we know who they are and where they live, and often they are in and out of the criminal justice system. GPS tagging enables the police to exactly pinpoint their location at any given time.
“The second area is monitoring registered sex offenders and ensuring they are obeying the conditions of their license. In both cases this is a strong deterrent to those who are tagged not to commit further offences and will free up officers to concentrate their time preventing and detecting crimes elsewhere.
“Whilst at this time wearing the tag is voluntary, it enables officers and probation staff to identify those who do not wish to cooperate at being of high risk of reoffending and to keep them under closer supervision. This is the start of an increasing trend of employing modern technology to closely monitor and manage offenders who pose the greatest risk to public and persuade them to change their ways and cease offending. “
Despite the deterrent effect of the trackers some wearers either forget they were wearing the tag, think the tag won’t be checked, or take drugs and become oblivious as to whether they are wearing a tag at all and have therefore the devices have been instrumental in obtaining convictions or prison recalls.
For example, a prolific offender with numerous previous convictions for theft related offences including dwelling burglary agreed to wear the tag. He appeared to be engaging and keeping to his license conditions. However, when a burglary occurred which had similarities to his previous modus operandi, a check of the Buddi system revealed he had been at the location of the burglary at the time of the offence. He was immediately arrested and fully admitted the offence. He was subsequently given a custodial sentence.
While a registered sex offender was fitted with a Buddi tag and had strict license conditions which prevented him from going to certain public places, including a local park. Regular checks of the system revealed that he had been in the park on two occasions. He was immediately arrested and recalled to prison for the remainder of his sentence.