POLICE in Herts are pioneering a new tagging device for villains that tracks their every movement.
The special tag contains GPS, which allows criminals’ movements to be traced using a web-based map in a system dubbed ‘chav nav’ by national newspapers.
Prolific offenders – who are each calculated to commit on average 112 offences every year – can volunteer to wear one as a way to keep them on the straight and narrow.
Det Insp Stuart Campfield, who heads the programme, said: “It’s a voluntary thing. Over the past year 30 people have worn one.
“We are dealing with people who are burglars and vehicle crime people. None of them have been convicted of this type of offence since wearing the tag.
“It’s a web-based monitoring platform. I’m very impressed by it. It reduces suspicion. These offenders have been offending for many, many years. The police’s suspicion of them means these can eliminate them from anything they haven’t done.
“I have offenders say to me: ‘It has helped me stop committing crime.’ On that level it has reduced crime.”
Candidates for the tags are chosen from a pool of villains who have been identified as suitable and Herts police is keen to stress it is not an alternative to prison.
The force has been using 10 of the tags for the past year but it is hoping to get hold of 100 to expand the scheme. The devices are worn in a similar way to existing tags – which only alert the authorities if the wearer leaves their property during curfew times – and offenders show up as green blobs moving on a computer screen.
Colin Connolly, head of communications at Herts police, said: “The main thing is they are not getting accused of crimes they didn’t commit. They are breaking habits of a lifetime to go straight – it’s the perfect alibi.”