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Government Consults on Use of Electronic Tagging

The Scottish Government has launched a consultation exercise on the use of electronic tagging and whether it should be expanded to help further reduce reoffending levels and keep communities safe.

Potential new uses for tagging, including new technology to monitor alcohol consumption and voluntary schemes for persistent offenders, are being considered as part of a major expansion of electronic monitoring, which would see new legislation being introduced.

The expansion could see tagging used as a condition of a community payback order, giving added security of restricting a person’s movement while carrying out a sentence involving unpaid work in the community.

Changes being explored include:

  • Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking technology in addition to current radio tagging
  • Giving courts the option of tagging as an alternative to a fine
  • Using tagging as a bail condition as an alternative to custody on remand
  • Introducing electronic tags as a condition of release from custody while a police investigation is ongoing

“International evidence shows electronic monitoring can be used effectively and ethically, without routinely resorting to custody,” commented Stirling University criminologist and electronic monitoring researcher, Dr Hannah Graham.

“This doesn’t mean indiscriminate tagging and surveillance en masse, nor does it mean ignoring victims and families,” she added. “It means tailoring tagging to be fit-for-purpose, with due regard for all affected. This consultation proposes some practical ways of better integrating electronic tagging with supports for rehabilitation to help people leave crime behind.”

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