A European first in breathalyser technology which uses facial recognition as part of a test to ensure offenders are staying sober is being trialled in Nottinghamshire.
The one-piece hand-held device is used by people who need supervision as part of their rehabilitation and allows them to give sobriety tests remotely while ensuring it is being carried out by the right person.
It has built-in text reminders and random, on-demand and scheduled testing options, with real time notifications coming through when there is an incident of non-compliance. GPS results are provided for both taken and missed tests.
Two breathalysers have already been utilised by people who want to try and address their links between alcohol and offending as part of the trial.
Used on a voluntary basis, the tests will be automatically demanded at pre-agreed times during the day, to ensure that there is no alcohol in their system and they are staying on track in their aim for sobriety.
The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Nottinghamshire is responsible for scrutinising Nottinghamshire Police’s performance in reducing reoffending and is supporting the force in becoming the first agency in Europe to trial it.
It is due to be introduced across the region and if the pilot is successful it could be rolled out nationally.
Nottinghamshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry said: “It is incredibly pleasing to once again see Nottinghamshire leading the way and setting the standards for forces across the country to follow.
“This equipment and the work behind the project is crucial as we know alcohol is significantly linked to people offending.
“This is about using the latest technology available to help people stay out of trouble, forging a better life for themselves and the people around them.”
The remote breath tests have been brought in as an expansion and less invasive version of the Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor tags which have been in use for the past four years and have seen more than 2,500 days logged with the tags in play.
Aimed at monitoring behavioural patterns between alcohol use and offending, the tags have had a significant positive impact on people’s lives in the time since they were first introduced.
Described as being like a breathalyser for the ankle, the Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor tag provides 24/7 transdermal alcohol testing for those wearing one.
It does that by automatically sampling the subject’s perspiration every 30 minutes and eliminates testing gaps while also encouraging accountability.
Recent training took place at Central Police Station at Byron House in Nottingham, to educate officers from Leicestershire, Lincolnshire and Derbyshire for when they come to use the tags in the near future.
The Nottinghamshire Operational Lead for Integrated Offender Management Inspector Paul Harris, who built the initial project and expansion, said: “Alcohol is a significant driver for many offenders, and what we’ve found with the sobriety tags is that not only are they reducing offending and changing behaviour, but people also want to leave the tags on because it’s making a positive difference to their lives.
“In all of the use over the past four years, there have been no cases of voluntary wearers reoffending where alcohol was a contributing factor.
“Having the remote breath tests means that we’ve now got a stepdown option which isn’t so invasive.
“We’ve had such success with our initial sobriety tagging pilot in Nottinghamshire that it just made sense to build on that and offer our regional IOM colleagues the opportunity to follow our lead.”
Posted on Tuesday 6th June 2023