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Polling Shows High Public Interest for Smart Justice Solutions in Scotland

A recent poll commissioned by SCRAM Systems has discovered that 97% of the Scottish public are concerned about alcohol-related crime—a proportionately higher rate than the UK as a whole, measuring at 93%.

Scotland poll concern for alcohol-related crimes

Those that are most concerned about alcohol-related offending include women (98%) and those aged over 55 (98%). Additionally, both Edinburgh and Glasgow revealed high levels of concern about crime in which alcohol plays a significant role, both polling at 97%.

This level of concern is unsurprising given that alcohol is a key driver of offending behaviour. In Scotland, this is particularly the case for young individuals, where 60% are drunk at the time of their offence. Overall, alcohol plays a part in 42% of violent crime in Scotland.

How Does the Public Want to Address Alcohol-Related Crime?

So, what do people think should be done to address alcohol-related crime? Over nine out of ten of Scottish voters (93%) support the use of sobriety tagging to tackle such offending.

Some of the options currently available include fines, prison, community sentences, curfews, other restrictions on movement, and community payback (unpaid work). However, sobriety tags provide a unique opportunity to directly address a core factor of the offending behaviour, whilst providing a punitive sanction that also serves to change future behaviour. This is achieved through enforced compulsory sobriety that is monitored 24/7 with the use of the sobriety tag.

Public support for sobriety tags was high when compared to the alternative aforementioned options; 66% see sobriety tags as an effective sentencing method to reduce and prevent alcohol-related crime, followed by 51% for restrictions on movement, 42% for curfews, 38% for community sentences, 28% for prison, 23% for restorative justice and 22% for fines.

Scotland poll use of sobriety tags as sentencing option

Strong Scottish Support for Sobriety Tagging

Given such high levels of alcohol-related offending, heightened public awareness and support for more tailored sentencing solutions are welcome. In fact, 88% of the Scottish public support the use of sobriety tags for individuals being released on licence for alcohol-related offences.

As part of Hollyrood’s ongoing efforts to progressively reform the Scottish criminal justice system, there is a clear opportunity for the Scottish Government to make use of alcohol abstinence requirements and effective, evidence-led alternatives to custody.

Author Profile Picture

Amit Sethi has more than 18 years’ experience working within the criminal justice sector and is now the Head of European Operations for SCRAM Systems. His previous positions include Senior Probation Prosecutor at the National Probation Service and Programme Manager at the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime. He holds a degree in Law with Accountancy (BA Hons), completed the Legal Practice Course at the College of Law (London), and has received qualifications in project management.