'Sobriety bracelets' to fight crime in London

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The Independent Online

Criminals convicted of serious drink-related offences will be fitted with US-style "sobriety bracelets" to keep them dry under a pilot scheme.

Alcohol intake will be monitored by the electronic tags, which have been worn by American offenders including actress Lindsay Lohan and could be tested in London from this summer.

Anyone continuing to drink will be arrested and brought before a judge who has the option of sending them back to prison, City Hall said.

London will be the first city in England to trial the system on persistent alcohol offenders convicted of crimes such as assault and criminal damage.

The Government has provided £400,000 to London Mayor Boris Johnson to fund the project and the mayor is said to be keen to see it extended. It is hoped the bracelets, which monitor the alcohol level in the wearer's blood, will reduce drink-related crime in the capital. Often tagged to the ankle, they work by measuring air and perspiration emissions from the skin every 30 minutes.

Blood alcohol levels as low as 0.02 per cent can reportedly be detected and the tags can tell when alcohol was consumed before electronically transmitting that information to a base monitoring station.