Tagging of offenders poised to return: Despite earlier failures, a Bill before Parliament allows use of electronic monitoring

Electronic tagging for offenders is to be reintroduced by the Government, despite being abandoned more than three years ago after disastrous pilot schemes.

New powers, included in the Criminal Justice Bill currently before Parliament, will enable courts to sentence criminals to curfew orders, which will be electronically monitored. Offenders convicted of crimes such as theft, minor assaults, stealing cars and burglary, are expected to be given the new punishments and fitted with tags, probably around their ankles. The tags produce signals which alert a supervisor, usually a private security guard, if the offender leaves home.

Electronic monitoring - inspired by an American comic character King Pin, who used electronic surveillance to track his arch enemy Spiderman - will be introduced for nine months in Manchester, Reading and Norfolk next January. The Home Office has more than pounds 1.3m to spend on the project and, if successful, hopes to set up a national scheme.

Tagging was first used in Nottingham, Newcastle and London in 1989. In that experiment, people were tagged instead of being locked up awaiting a court appearance. Probation officers claimed it degenerated into an expensive fiasco.

Of the 49 subjects, 29 either breached their conditions or committed another offence. In all there were 217 violations. In one case a man absconded for several weeks and when he was found he was charged with murder, for which he later received a life sentence. Another man in Tyneside jumped out of the dock and escaped before the tag could be fitted. There were also dozens of equipment failures.

In 1992, the Home Office said the scheme was being dropped because of expense - it was estimated that it would have cost up to pounds 60m to introduce it country-wide.

The Home Office is confident that developments in technology will produce better results than in 1989 when the tags had to be plugged into a telephone connected to the local police station, or security guard, to show wearers were observing their curfew.

Private security officers employed by the electronics company which provides the equipment and, in some cases, probation officers or local authority staff, are expected to monitor the tagged offenders. Courts will be able to combine community service orders with the new electronic curfew sentences.

The Home Office also wants to establish the cost and effectiveness of the new orders.

The government plans are contained in a letter from Hugh Marriage, the deputy head of the Probation Service division at the Home Office, which contains details about the electronic monitoring and the curfew order in advance of the Criminal Justice Bill being given parliamentary assent. The House of Lords is expected to debate it in committee on 16 May.

Harry Fletcher, assistant general secretary of the National Association of Probation Officers, said: 'Ministers have failed to realise that a punishment that might act as a deterrent for them does not act as a deterrent for many offenders who, by and large, lead chaotic lives, may have mental health, drink and drug problems, are disorganised, unemployed and tend to have unsettled home lives.'

Rosemary Thomson, chairwoman of the Magistrates' Association, said that they were 'sceptical' given their experience of the earlier trials.

Voices
'Irritatingly Disneyfied': fashion vlogger Zoella
voices

News
people

Actress sees off speculation about her appearance in an amazing way

Arts and Entertainment
The last great picture - Winner 'Black and White' and overall 'Wildlife Photographer of the Year'
art
News
Carl Bernstein (left) and Bob Woodward (right) with former 'Washington Post' executive editor Ben Bradlee
people

The Washington Post editor helped Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein bring down President Nixon

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law
news

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - SThree Group - Bristol

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: SThree Group has been...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - SThree Group - Birmingham

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: SThree Group has been...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Computer Futures

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: The SThree group is a world le...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - SThree - £18k Starting Salary

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: SThree Group has been...

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London