A pilot is being carried out into electronic monitoring global positioning system. The aim of the pilot is to gain information to look at how existing and new electronic monitoring technologies could be used more effectively. The focus of the pilot will be on violent offenders. A specific pilot is also taking place in London for offenders who have served a custodial sentence for knife crimes.
What is the pilot for knife crime offenders?
The pilot began in February 2019 and is now being expanded from 4 to 24 boroughs of London. Up to 300 offenders could be tagged in the 12-month pilot. The pilot is due to end in April 2020.
Eligible offenders are those who are released from prison following sentencing for offences such as possession of a knife, robbery, aggravated burglary and grievous bodily harm. The offender must be over 18 and released from a London prison to suitable accommodation in a pilot area. The tagging is used as part of strict licence conditions.
Hasn’t the tag been around for ages?
The tag that is commonly referred to is a tag to monitor a curfew. A curfew is monitored through radio frequency technology and does not track location. Such a tag is frequently used as part of bail conditions and on release from prison sentences. It can be used for almost all offenders, not just violent offenders.
What is the difference?
A global positioning system (GPS) tag is a location monitoring enabled tag. A person’s location is captured 24 hours a day. It can also be used to monitor a specific area such as an exclusion zone where active monitoring only takes place if there is a breach of that condition.
How does it work?
A tag around the ankle is worn 24 hours a day, and a satellite signal can pinpoint the wearer’s location. They are designed to be difficult to remove. However, if it is removed, an alert is generated to a monitoring centre. The location monitoring is carried out in live time. The alerts in the event of a breach are immediate so that appropriate action can be carried out. As a result, high-risk offenders can be prioritised for an emergency response.
How is the information used?
An offender’s movements will be checked against the location of reported crimes or areas he is not permitted to be in as part of the licence conditions. It was also be used statistically to improve crime detention, monitor attendance at locations such as drug testing and rehabilitation activities and to enforce restrictions such as exclusion zones.
As well as being able to check that a person is where they should, or shouldn’t, be, monitoring can be used to assess behaviours and routines. An offender’s probation officer can use the information to see how that person is spending their time and how this impacts on their behaviour or possibility of further offending. The Probation Service can be provided with daily “heat maps” of addresses visited by the offender. This can be used to challenge their lifestyle choices.
Previous issues with tags
Earlier this year Serco was fined nearly £23 million by the Serious Fraud Office under a deferred prosecution agreement for offences of fraud and false accounting. The company had understated the level of profitability of its electronic monitoring contract in reports to the Ministry of Justice. The investigation began in 2013 when Serco paid £70 million in compensation to the government and lost their contract. Serco and G4S faced allegations of charging the government for electronically monitoring people who were dead, in jail or out of the country.
How can we help?
If you need specialist advice in relation to any criminal investigation or prosecution, from the initial investigation through to court proceedings, please get in touch. Call John Howey on 020 7388 1658 or email email@example.com. Let us help.Read More
The government has announced a national rollout of GPS electronic tagging which will mean 24/7 location monitoring of those wearing the tag.
The tag is now available in three Probation areas; the North West, Midlands and North East. Location monitoring will go live in the South East, South West and Wales by April 2019.
There will also be a pilot in London to monitor offenders released from prison for knife-related offences.
The rollout follows a 15-month pilot in 3 areas. In addition, an independent process evaluation of the GPS location monitoring pilot has informed the rollout process.
How the GPS tag works
The tag remotely captures and records information on an individual’s whereabouts at all times. The tag receives location signals from satellites and then communicates location data via a mobile phone network to a case management system.
Who is the tag for?
Electronic tagging is for individuals who would benefit from their whereabouts being monitored in the context of violent offences (including domestic violence), harassment, gang crime, football-related offences and multiple theft offences. An assessment will take place on the basis of risk level, previous offending, motivation to change, ability to manage the tag and other sentence requirements. In the pilot scheme, those without a fixed address or with serious mental health or learning disabilities were not suitable.
In particular, it is for:
- Individuals on court-imposed bail who would otherwise be remanded in custody;
- Offenders given a suspended sentence order or community order who would otherwise have been given a short custodial sentence;
- Those on HDC where risk could be managed more effectively by a GPS tag than a radio frequency (curfew) tag;
- Offenders not complying with licence conditions where enforcement action was being considered and offenders being considered for re-release after recall; and
- Offenders on a life sentence or IPP being considered for release by the Parole Board.
In respect of court-imposed bail, individual police forces can choose to roll out the service as soon as it is available in their region. So even if you are in one of the newly introduced areas this may not be an option for you yet.
What is the tag for, are there any benefits?
Electronic tagging is said to support effective management of offenders and those on court bail in four ways:
- Offender rehabilitation;
- Facilitating risk management;
- Informing decisions about whether a wearer should be recalled to custody or court
- Providing evidence to exonerate or link a wearer to a crime.
A benefit is seen in the more detailed information that is received from the monitoring centre in respect of non-compliance or breach. This provides more nuanced intelligence about behaviour to enable informed decisions on action to be taken over a breach or non—compliance. Rehabilitation is supported as access is gained to historical data as to how the wearer spends his time. This helps inform discussion in relation to lifestyle and behaviour and identify potential concerns.
In addition to relieving pressures of other rehabilitative services, there is an obvious benefit in the safeguarding of victims.
Location monitoring can be used to enforce an exclusion zone from an area or specific address; the tag will vibrate to remind the wearer if they are in a prohibited area. A restriction could be imposed from going within a certain distance from a given point or address of a victim or known criminal associate. The tag can also be used to enforce attendance at specific activities or appointments, as well as stand-alone monitoring and/or a curfew.
Are there any concerns to be addressed?
The review that followed the pilot identified a number of potential issues that should be addressed before a national rollout. These were gaps in the infrastructure, inadequate processes being in place to support effective information sharing, staffing levels, a lack of detail in reports and interpretation of the information, delays in notification of breaches and problems with the daily requirement for charging of the tag.
How can we help?
It is hoped that the potential issues outlined above have been addressed prior to the rollout. However, as with anything new, there may be teething problems. If this affects you and your tag, we can help you. We can advise you whether you would be considered for such monitoring and/or whether it is appropriate in your case.
If you need specialist advice in relation to any criminal investigation or prosecution, from the initial investigation through to court proceedings, please get in touch with. Call John Howey on 020 7388 1658 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Let us help.Read More