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In a speech at last weekend’s G20 summit in Australia, British Prime Minister David Cameron announced that if his party is returned to power in the 2015 election, he will expand the use of “sobriety bracelets” to help curb alcohol-related crime. Sources estimate that if the plan moves forward, up to 5,000 individuals a year in the U.K. could receive abstinence orders and be supervised with continuous transdermal alcohol monitoring.

The U.K. has long struggled with problems tied to excessive drinking. Unlike the U.S., where drunk driving is the most prominent alcohol-involved crime, in the U.K. police and citizens alike complain about “boozed-up yobs” who stumble out of pubs to fight, assault passers-by, damage property, and commit other public disorder offenses. Officials calculate that alcohol-related crime costs the country between £8 billion and £13 billion (approximately $12.5 – $20 billion U.S.) each year.

Cameron’s announcement was triggered in part by the early success of the City of London’s Alcohol Abstinence Monitoring Requirement (AAMR) pilot scheme, launched in August. The first of its kind in the U.K., the AAMR pilot allows courts to require sobriety and SCRAM Continuous Alcohol Monitoring for individuals accused of alcohol-involved offenses. It is being overseen by the Mayor’s Office of Police and Crime, the Ministry of Justice, the Home Office, and Public Health England. A few dozen individuals have enrolled in the pilot and a total of 150 participants are expected by the time it concludes next summer.

Read news stories about the launch of alcohol monitoring technology in the U.K.

Matthew Mitchell

Matthew Mitchell

Matthew Mitchell is country manager, United Kingdom for SCRAM Systems. Based in London, he is tasked with developing and implementing Alcohol Sobriety Programmes across the UK. Besides oversight of the day-to-day operations of the London office, Mitchell also works with policing agencies and local authorities to drive awareness, and promote implementation of transdermal alcohol monitoring solutions at the local level. He also works with key stakeholders within the government, academia, research, and special interest organizations that focus on alcohol misuse, crime, and technology solutions. Mitchell began the first 8 years of his career in Cook County, IL, assigned to the Juvenile Probation Department, with 7 of those years spent in the Intensive Probation Supervision Unit before becoming supervisor of the Electronic Monitoring Unit. He finished up his stint in Cook County working in the Training Division, where he was part of a team of trainers responsible for the induction of new hires. He also worked for the State of Colorado’s 2nd Judicial District Probation Department as an Adult Drug Court Officer and a Drug Court Program Supervisor. The past 10 years Mitchell has worked for SCRAM Systems in a variety of roles, most recently serving as the director of Industry Relations for SCRAM Systems, prior to accepting his position in London. A Chicago native, Mitchell is a graduate of Cornell College, with a BA in Sociology and Anthropology, and he holds a MS in Criminal Justice from the University of Cincinnati. He has become an avid tea drinker since relocating and an advocate for sturdy umbrellas, otherwise known as brollies.

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