Electronic monitoring for Scottish Government
Today’s decision by the Scottish Government to award a new national contract for electronic monitoring to G4S represents an important advancement in how offenders in the community will be robustly monitored, while also delivering improved value for money to the Scottish taxpayer.
The five-year contract, worth £13m, begins in April 2013 and means Scotland's criminal and youth justice agencies will, for the very first time, have the option of using the latest Global Positioning System (GPS) technology to continuously track offenders' whereabouts as well as monitor compliance with curfew based liberty restrictions. This will support the delivery of tough community sentences in Scotland, contribute to reduced offending and provide greater protection to the public.
Richard Morris, Group Managing Director for G4S Care & Justice Services, said:
“We are very pleased and proud to have been selected to work in partnership with the Scottish Government to deliver this highly innovative solution to the criminal and youth justice systems. As part of the solution, G4S will integrate IT infrastructure, software, contact centre services, field services and the latest monitoring devices (tags) to deliver a complete end-to-end service. We believe that the new service will be the benchmark for the delivery of offender monitoring in the UK.
"Although the use of electronic 'tagging' is not new in Scotland, having been introduced over ten years ago, the 'radio frequency' technology used up till now has only been able to establish when an offender has broken their curfew and left their normal place of residence. With our cutting edge multi-functional GPS tags, we will be able to monitor both curfews and the location of certain offenders. This has potentially important benefits for public protection and sentencing flexibility.”
“As the world's leading provider of offender monitoring services and technology, I am confident G4S will deliver a high quality solution which will provide a cost-effective and robust means of monitoring offenders in the community, helping to safeguard the public and reduce reoffending. We have extensive experience of delivering innovative offender monitoring solutions in over fifteen different countries, and I look forward to us building on our strong track record through this exciting new partnership with the Scottish Government."
Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Kenny MacAskill, said:
“The award of this contract allows us to utilise the very latest technology to keep our communities safe. Using satellite tracking rather than just radio frequency technology to ensure offenders comply with the strict terms of their release into the community is a significant step forward. It gives our law enforcement agencies greater tools in their armoury and as the world’s leading provider of this technology, G4S have a proven track record in this area.
“We will monitor the roll out of this technology closely. If successful, it provides the opportunity to be utilised in other ways too, such as the monitoring of higher risk offenders, or providing the capability of setting up exclusion zones on where offenders can go and what they can do. We’ll be keeping a close eye on its development going forward and will actively consider further roll out to other uses if the evaluation proves positive.”
In Scotland, where up to 700 offenders are monitored at any one time, the system will not only have implications for the monitoring of offenders, but for protecting former and potential victims of crimes:
Sex offenders – high risk individuals such as sex offenders who are released on parole may have conditions attached to their licence, such as avoiding schools. The sophistication of the GPS system would allow G4S to programme in the details of every school in Scotland so that an alarm would be activated were the offender to breach an exclusion zone, allowing the relevant authorities to be alerted.
Domestic violence – the technology provides the capability to alert the victims of domestic violence when their abuser may be nearby. The victim will be given a small device which will recognise the tag worn by the perpetrator, and will then alert the G4S monitoring centre.