Mayor to roll out GPS tagging in London

17 March 2016

New satellite tagging technology will be used to better monitor criminals and drive down reoffending in an innovative pilot project, as part of the Mayor’s work to crack down on crime in the capital.

From this summer, courts in the pilot area will become the first in the country to have new powers to order criminals to wear satellite tags which continuously track an offender’s location, and ensure they comply with their sentence and deter them from reoffending. Suspects wearing the tags who do reoffend can be easily identified at the scene of a crime, delivering swifter justice and saving valuable police time and money.

Most prolific criminals begin offending in their early teens and successful early intervention can help prevent those poor decisions leading to a life of crime. Initially the pilot will target up to 100 of the most prolific young adult offenders in north and east London. It will form part of the Mayor’s £3m ‘Gripping the Offender’ programme, tackling the most serious repeat offenders, and his wider work to drive down reoffending by youths leaving custody, which has fallen from over 70 per cent in 2012 to around 56 per cent*.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson MP, said: “Cracking down on reoffending is essential as we continue to tackle crime across the capital. This innovative pilot uses the latest GPS technology to help deter reoffending and aid rehabilitation. It’s these kind of pioneering projects, from body worn video and tablets, to sobriety tags that are helping us to ensure London remains the greatest and safest big city on earth.”

Justice Minister Dominic Raab said: "GPS tagging is an innovative tool to help us make sure offenders in the community are complying with the terms of their sentence. This technology can reinforce public protection, strengthen rehabilitation so offenders are dealing with their problems, and critically drive down re-offending. The London pilot will inform our plans to roll out GPS tagging nationwide."

The new pilot has been approved by the Ministry of Justice as the Mayor’s Office Policing And Crime publishes its annual report, which shows that under the Mayor’s leadership crime in the capital has fallen dramatically, confidence in the police is up, costs have been cut, and police numbers have been maintained at around 32,000 in the face of significant financial challenges.

The Deputy Mayor for Policing And Crime, Stephen Greenhalgh, said: "Thanks to the leadership of the Mayor and the hard work of the Met Police over the last eight years, crime has fallen dramatically and police numbers are at 32,000 despite the significant financial challenges that the Met has faced. From tackling gang crime to driving down burglary to 1974 levels, this MOPAC annual report is testament to the dedication of all those who work in the Met police, community safety and criminal justice in our capital."

Today, the Mayor's Office for Policing And Crime (MOPAC) also launches a new tool designed to aid police, councils, criminal justice partners and community groups as they work together to help meet London's needs both now and in the future. The London Landscape is part of the Mayor’s work to significantly increase transparency and data availability and collates the most extensive set of information on London ever collected, from crime and population trends, to the state of health, education or the emergency services. Within the new tool is London’s first community safety index which measures the relative safety of locations in London at ward level. Access to this information means London's key services will be able to better target resources where they are most needed and tackle the challenges of a growing and diverse city.

Notes to editors

* Source: Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime Annual Report

Among the Mayor’s many achievements is meeting his target to double the number of Volunteer Police Cadets since 2013, from 2,405 to 5,036. Later today, the Deputy Mayor Stephen Greenhalgh will meet a group of young cadets in Newham to recognise their contribution to the community.

Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime Annual Report:

In 2012, the Mayor's ambition was for the Met police to become the most effective, most efficient, most respected, police force in the country and he challenged the Met to cut neighbourhood crime, boost public confidence and cut costs:

·         Cut neighbourhood crime - London has become a far safer place to live, with 75,000 fewer victims of neighbourhood crime compared to 2012, and an additional 2,600 extra officers onto neighbourhood beats. The seven key neighbourhood crimes including robbery and burglary have fallen by 18.4 per cent, with burglary falling by 26 per cent to its lowest level since 1974, and robbery plummeting 43 per cent.

·         Boost public confidence in the police - 63 per cent of Londoners now say their local force provide a good or excellent service, up from 55 per cent in 2008. The capital's police force looks more like the city it serves, with the Met's London-only recruitment policy helping to attract more BME and female officers. 12 per cent of Met officers are now from BME backgrounds which is more than double the national policing average. The spirit of volunteering has also flourished under the Mayor, with 1,200 Londoners devoting 25,000 hours of their time last year to help boost confidence and engagement with the police as members of Safer Neighbourhood Boards, Stop and Search Community Monitoring Groups and Independent Custody Visitors.

·         Cut costs – The Mayor has raised nearly a billion pounds from the sale of underutilised buildings which is all being reinvested into frontline policing to create a 21st Century, tech savvy digital police service. He has supported the Met to make £600 million savings over the last four years. Smarter procurement has reduced third party supplier costs by over £60m per annum which is the equivalent of 1,200 officers.

·         Tackle gangs and serious youth violence - The Mayor has overseen a dramatic programme of intervention, prevention and enforcement to tackle gang crime and serious youth violence, including the launch of the Met's Trident Gang Command in 2012 and a £1.5m London-wide gang exit scheme to help vulnerable young people transform their lives with specialist mentoring and support launched in February 2016.  This year alone, the Mayor has spent £6.8 million on combatting gang crime and youth violence has fallen by 22 per cent

in 2015 compared to 2008.

·         Swifter, surer justice - the Mayor has overseen improvements in the Criminal Justice System, reducing delays, increasing compliance with community orders and cutting reoffending by young people leaving custody. Through the innovative Gripping the Offender Pilot, the Mayor has brought together partners to tackle the most prolific reoffenders, who are responsible in the city. From April 2016 sobriety tags, which monitor an offender’s alcohol intake through perspiration, will also roll out throughout the capital to help reduce alcohol-related crime and reoffending, having already shown 92 per cent compliance rates at pilot stage.

The London Landscape

·         The London Landscape can be found here: https://www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/mayors-office-policing-and-crime-mopac/data-and-research/london-landscape

·         It includes London's first community safety index which measures the relative safety of locations in London down to the ward level. The principles of the Vulnerable Locality Profile (VLP) were developed by the Jill Dando Institute at University College London in 2012, based on research into how and where civil disorders emerge and correlations with community indicators. The variables used in the formula were chosen by UCL following research on fields of community cohesion, social exclusion, social efficacy and social capital, and cover thematic areas of crime, population, deprivation and education. After consultation with UCL, more up-to-date London-specific datasets relevant to the above indicators have been used for the VLP version, also enabling analysis over time.

·         A number of indicators within the London Landscape are also routinely monitored by MOPAC as part of their oversight role of the Metropolitan Police Service. The data for the London Landscape is sourced and calculated differently to MOPAC's performance products and therefore should not be compared. For the most current data for any of these common indicators, please view the MOPAC performance dashboards at https://www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/mayors-office-policing-and-crime-mopac/data-and-research/

·         MOPAC's Evidence and Insight Team, led by Professor Betsy Stanko OBE, is known internationally for its work on evidence based policing and research. They have worked with experts from the GLA's Intelligence Unit over the last 18 months to develop the London Landscape.

Gripping the Offender:

·         MOPAC, together with Criminal Justice System partners is investing £3 million to design, test and evaluate Gripping the Offender, a new approach that intensively focuses on the individuals causing the most harm to communities and the greatest demand on services. MOPAC has engaged with a number of agencies across the Criminal Justice System to deliver a targeted and consistent response to prolific offenders with a focus on 5 key strands – policing, courts, offender management, pathways out of crime and case tracking.

·         The Gripping the Offender pilot will impact on approximately 1,000 offenders across 8 boroughs in the North and East Local Justice Areas in London, with learning from the pilot used to inform London’s future strategy for reducing reoffending.

·         MOPAC has commissioned London’s Community Rehabilitation Company to deliver services as part of the Gripping the Offender pilot. The Community Rehabilitation Company will deliver an enhanced service targeted at priority groups including 18-25 year olds, who make up approximately 40 per cent of prolific offenders in London, and female offenders.