By LE Desk
London, March 9: Domestic abuse offenders who have served a prison sentence will be tagged with a GPS tracking device in London under a new pilot project.
Up to 200 perpetrators of abuse-related offences, such as stalking, harassment, physical abuse, sexual abuse and coercive control will be fitted with the devices from Tuesday as part of their release conditions, the Guardian reported.
The pilot, which is running across every London borough as part of a programme announced by the London mayor’s office, has been launched in collaboration with probation services after consultation with the Violence Against Women and Girls initiative.
“In London we’ve already pioneered the use of GPS tagging for knife crime offenders, and demonstrated that it can help to prevent reoffending, drive down violence, and protect victims,” said Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London.
“Our new scheme targeting perpetrators of abuse will prevent further violence, help to better protect victims from harm and send a clear signal that abuse ends now.”
Katie Nash, head of public protection for the National Probation Service (London division), said the pilot would provide an opportunity to use technology to improve the management of the risk posed to past, current and future partners and children.
“The GPS tags will be an integral part of risk management plans as they enable us to monitor compliance with licence conditions to improve victim safety,” she said.
Responding to the announcement of the GPS project, the charity Women’s Aid said that it had to be led in partnership with specialist Violence Against Women and Girls organisations to ensure it is safe and effective.
Farah Nazeer, chief executive at Women’s Aid, said: “Providing better protection for survivors and children who face continued harm is critical. This must always be delivered alongside specialist support provided by women’s organisations. We hope this pilot will have survivors at its heart, as they are the experts in the continued and ongoing risk that an abuser poses.”
The initiative comes against the background of warnings that domestic abuse has surged during the coronavirus pandemic. Calls to the UK’s largest domestic abuse helpline were rising “week on week,” it emerged last year, as new figures revealed that almost 50 suspected killings may have occurred during the first lockdown.
Separate data from Counting Dead Women, a project that records the killing of women by men in the UK, identified 35 murders, with another 12 strongly suspected cases between 23 March and the start of July, when Covid restrictions were largely lifted.