Monday, 22 August 2011

Alcohol Monitoring

The 'booze bracelet' is the latest import which Scotland's Violence Reduction Unit hopes will cut drink-related violet crime.  An asbo with a difference, because it monitors an offender's alcohol consumption.  Data from the tag is sent remotely to a computer and if alcohol is detected the system alerts the authorities.

The tags, costing £850 each, are currently used in the US for drunk drivers who are repeat offenders and shortly US representatives will bring the first batch of bracelets to Glasgow for testing.  The bracelet already has the approval of the Scottish government, the courts, the Crown Office and even defence and human rights lawyers.

If the pilot scheme is successful in reducing violent crime, it will be rolled out across Scotland.

Whilst I would welcome a reduction in alcohol-fueled violent crime, how long will it be before this technology is used to monitor smokers and those who eat themselves into obesity?

Will these booze bracelets become the latest badges of honour for criminals?

The funding of the scheme has not yet been decided and it won't be cheap. Twenty four hour monitoring is usually a costly business and the police will certainly refuse to fund this from their budgets. In all probability it will be managed by the UK's largest company you've never heard of and paid for by the Scottish government.



WitteringsfromWitney said...

From a civil liberty aspect this is indeed a worrying development, SR. Very good articles you link to also. Down here Serco has their fingers in many pies, including waste collection. Definitely one company getting too big for its boots, methinks?

subrosa said...

It is concerning WfW and, although I wrote it tongue in cheek, the technology could well be used to control those whose lifestyle doesn't 'fit'.

Serco is really another tier of government and is fast replacing local authorities.

English Pensioner said...

I'm interested in how it works! Does it sense the alcohol content of the skin?
Can Scottish courts ban a person from drinking alcohol - unless they can what is the point of the device other than proving that some one was drunk at a particular time. Or is the intention to send the law round when someone reaches his limit? I'm sure the police will love that!

subrosa said...

Here's how they work EP. I'll put the link on the post too.

Elby the Beserk said...

I think you mean, rather than "paid for by the Scottish government", "paid for by the Scottish taxpayer", yes?

When do we expect the dissident thinking monitor?

JRB said...

Sorry I am being thick here – but I cannot for the life of me see how this will reduce by one jot the incidence of alcohol related violent crime.

I assume that to earn the privilege of wearing a ‘booze tag’ one has to already be a repeat offender, known to the police and to the courts.
No doubt previous periods of incarceration for alcohol related violent crime have proven to be ineffective.
When, no doubt, the ’booze tag’ highlights that they have re-offend they are then taken off to jail which has already been proven not to work as either a punishment or as a deterrent – it’s illogical.

And if perchance our weegie fancies a wee swallie o’ ‘Buckie’ or a can o’ ‘special’, at what stage do the boys in blue come charging through the door and whisk our weegie away to the local nick.

When does a social drink, which is not illegal and which society accepts and regularly indulges in, spill over into the fuel for drunken violent alcohol related crime.
I have known some who were incapable after a glass of sweet sherry, and others who could kill a bottle (or two) of scotch and you would never know they had had a drink.

Big Brother Is Watching And Monitoring – Be Careful What You Say And Do

Demetrius said...

How many days would it be before innocent citizens are being terrorised by people threatening to do dreadful things to them with their booze bracelet? It will be almost as bad as filed down bicycle chains.

pa_broon74 said...

Interesting link to the SR on Forth Valley Royal, I worked there for a number of weeks and goaded those robots.

A family member of mine was banned from driving with drink, he never got his license back because he continued to drink during his ban. Even although he wouldn't be drink driving (no alcohol in his blood) because you need (apparently) to take a medical before the DVLA will give you your license back, this medical test the blood and looks for evidence on liver damage which this family member had.

In effect, the ban was permanent because even although he spent most of the time unintoxicated, the medical exam picked up the liver damage.

To me that seemed unfair.

The Serco thing though... It's a big old ponzi scheme involving government contracts, big companies like Serco and the banks. The government does a big old PFI honker like FV Royal and dishes portions of it out to companies like Serco, meanwhile Serco borrows money from the banks to bank roll the whole operation. The banks profit from interest on those loans and other services and the government sees an increase in tax revenue.

We all end up paying three times over.

Also, at FVA, health board staff are not encouraged to use serco porters because it costs the board money, of that I have personal experience.

Anonymous said...


"I have known some who were incapable after a glass of sweet sherry, and others who could kill a bottle (or two) of scotch and you would never know they had had a drink."

Do I know you?

Woodsy42 said...

So it monitors alcohol in the sweat under the bracelet. So OK, lets say the wearer were to slide a small plastic membrane under it and add a bit of clean water round the contacts - instant sobriety.
There is no limit to the idiocy of the authorities, do they really think people are as stupid as they are?

subrosa said...

Yes that is what I meant Elby.

In answer to your second question maybe sooner than we think.

subrosa said...

Exactly JRB. This is an expensive toy for those who profess to monitor crime. Criminals will find a way to 'adapt' it to their advantage within minutes I expect.

subrosa said...

No idea Demetrius but criminals will find other uses I'm sure.

subrosa said...

I also think that's unfair pa broon but perhaps it's an indication of things to come.

That's exactly what another reader said to me in an email some time ago pa. He had occasion to visit the hospital and said it looked empty. Only then he discovered the robot business which of course takes away employment opportunities for local people.

So they have Serco porters too as well as NHS workers? You're right, it is a ponzi scheme.

subrosa said...

Ah Woodsy, there we are - you've found a adaptation. I said it would only take criminals a few minutes yet I suspect, with you being a fine upstanding, law-abiding citizen, it took you seconds.

English Pensioner said...

Now I've read how it works, I just wonder what would be the effect of slipping a piece of thin plastic or something similar between the device and one's skin. Perhaps it would need a few perforations so that one looked like a light drinker. Devices like this are OK for research with consenting volunteers, but I can't see any place for them in law enforcement.

And if it shows one has drunk a lot of alcohol, so what, its not an offence unless you are driving.

subrosa said...

I think the intention may be to alter court sentences to include no alcohol EP, for those who are guilty of crime while under the influence.

Just a thought.

pa_broon74 said...

The bracelet thing seems to be treating the sympton not the cause, it is an aspect of the SNP I'm not keen on and something they unfortunately share with the other different coloured mobs.

subrosa said...

What I've never understood pa broon, is why the police don't use their powers to arrest drunks and put them in a cold cell for a day or two, instead of rushing them to the nearest A & E these days.

That could halt a few criminals in their tracks and also re-offenders should be given far harsher sentences. Time people took responsibility for their actions while drunk. The justice system has ignored that for far too long.

Sheila said...

Direct link to SR article:

Sheila said...

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

Now if these tags worked on bankers - gave them a fair old shock when their greed levels rose?

As for Serco and their ilk, the back door privatisation - so beloved of the Conservatives as humanities representatives for entrepreneurial parasites - is quietly progressing while England riots and the financial world is in melt down.

Westminster never lets a crises interfere with the drama of looting from the people it supposedly serves.

subrosa said...

Thank you for both links Sheila. They should clear up the questions other readers have asked.

subrosa said...

If only Crinkly. :)

Is Serco only beloved by the Tories? I thought labour liked them too.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

Ah SR - I should have used the small 'c' since in Westminster terms they are all interchangeable.

subrosa said...

Sadly yes Crinkly.

Innpacked said...

So thanks for an informative and entertaining article which has pulled me away from the day job for a happy five minutes!

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