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Alcohol Monitoring ramps up
Alcohol tag MoJ
The number of people subject to alcohol monitoring has more than doubled in the last year.

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1,800 people on alcohol monitoring devices

The latest (published on 30 December 2022) alcohol monitoring statistics reveal a doubling in the number of individuals in England and Wales actively monitored with an alcohol monitoring device over the last year. The figures show the numbers at the end of each quarter over the last year up to 30 September 2022, and the provisional number for 30 November 2022.

Around 1,800 individuals were actively monitored with an alcohol monitoring device at the end of November 2022. This is 1,000 more than the number who were being actively monitored at the end of December 2021, reflecting the national rollout of alcohol monitoring for prison leavers from June 2022.

Of the alcohol tags used to monitor alcohol abstinence and monitoring requirements (AAMR), the tags did not register a tamper or alcohol alert 97.1% of the days worn since their introduction in October 2020.

Policy background

Following pilots in London, alcohol monitoring was introduced to courts in Wales in October 2020 and went live throughout England on 31 March 2021 to support the new community sentencing option, the Alcohol Abstinence and Monitoring Requirement (AAMR). An AAMR may only be used when sentencing for alcohol-related criminal behaviour and it imposes a total ban on drinking alcohol for up to 120 days. Compliance with the ban is monitored electronically using an alcohol tag which continuously monitors for the presence of alcohol in offenders’ sweat.

It may be imposed by the court as part of a Community Order or Suspended Sentence Order where:

  • the offence, or associated offence, for which the requirement is being imposed, is alcohol-related;
  • the subject is not alcohol dependent or has an Alcohol Treatment Requirement (ATR) recommended or in place; and
  • the subject is an adult (18 years or over)

For offenders being released from custody whose offending and risk is alcohol related, an Alcohol Monitoring on Licence (AML) additional licence condition was introduced in Wales in November 2021 and rolled out to England in June 2022. There are two conditions available for AML:

  • requires total abstinence from alcohol, or
  • requires the offender to comply with requirements specified by their supervising officer to address their alcohol needs, this will include limiting alcohol use.

Alcohol monitoring cannot be used for those under 18.

Interestingly, although we know that compliance rates with alcohol monitoring are high, we have no published evidence of their impact on either offending or alcohol use.

My chart below shows the rapid increase in the numbers of people monitored since the national roll out of AAMRs and, more significantly, the introduction of the Alcohol Monitoring on Licence condition.

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