Alcohol Abstinence and Monitoring Requirements will be available as part of community orders with effect from 31st July 2014, however, initially piloted only in the South London Justice Area. The pilot will run in four South London Boroughs; Croydon, Sutton, Southwark & Lambeth for up to 12 months.
The proposals are to give the courts the power to impose, in a limited number of areas, a new alcohol abstinence and monitoring requirement as part of a community order or suspended sentence order. The requirement could only be imposed in cases where alcohol has been assessed as having been a contributing factor to the offence committed.
Transdermal Electronic Tag
The requirement is brought in to force by section 76 LASPO 2012, which introduces a new section 212A into the Criminal Justice Act 2003. Orders will be enforced by means of a transdermal electronic tag. These are fitted around the ankle of an offender which measure the level of alcohol in an offender’s sweat at certain points throughout a 24 hour period. The tag provides data to a central monitoring point where it is analysed to check for compliance with the order. Should there be indications that a breach has occurred or should be considered then the enforcement authority is advised accordingly.
The pilot will be aimed at a specific cohort of offenders; those convicted of alcohol-related offences stemming from the night time economy; repeat drink driving offenders and to those convicted of alcohol-related violence offences. However, ultimately it would be for the court to decide who receives this sanction.
There are four conditions to the orders:
- Consumption of alcohol must be an element of the offence before the court, or the court must be satisfied that consumption of alcohol was a contributing factor to the commission of the offence.
- The court must be satisfied that the offender is not dependant on alcohol.
- The court must not include an alcohol treatment requirement in the order.
- The court must have been notified by the Secretary of State that arrangements for monitoring have been made in the local justice area. As referred to above the orders are initially being piloted in the South London area.
A court has the power to order an offender either to abstain from consuming any alcohol for a specified period or not to consume alcohol so that during a specified period they have a level of alcohol higher than a level specified by the order in their body. An offender on whom such a requirement is imposed would have to submit to monitoring for the purposes of ascertaining whether they were complying with the requirement. The maximum period of the new requirement is limited to 120 days.