PROLIFIC criminals can now volunteer to be tracked by police under a new pilot scheme.

The electronic ankle tags let Thames Valley Police and Thames Valley Probation follow the volunteer in real time. So far three criminals in the South and Vale police area have put themselves forward for the scheme dubbed Project Atlas.

But police say the tags can benefit the volunteer as it acts as a crime deterrent and can also provide an alibi if they are suspected of a crime.

There are 14 trackers currently available, seven of which are fitted to criminals in the Thames Valley.

The tags are available to the 54 offenders being managed under the Integrated Offender Management (IOM).

Insp Lewis Prescott-Mayling, Thames Valley Police lead for IOM, said: “By targeting these offenders, Project Atlas aims to reduce their offending and support their rehabilitation as well as reduce costs associated with monitoring offenders.

“We are planning on running the pilot for 12 months, and then will evaluate the effectiveness of the technology used and whether tracking reduces the risk of reoffending of those offenders taking part, before deciding whether it will be rolled out across Thames Valley.

“IOM makes a real difference in reducing offending in our communities and I am sure Project Atlas will be another tool to tackle persistent offending.”

Gabriel Amahwe, Thames Valley Probation director and lead for IOM, said: “The use of this approach is part of our community safety strategy to reduce re-offending and make our community a safer place in which to live and work.”