Electronic tagging 'changes needed to save money'

 
An electronic tag on a leg The report says it is 10 times more expensive per offender to tag in England and Wales than in the US

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The system of electronic monitoring of offenders in England and Wales should be changed to save millions of pounds, a think tank has suggested.

Policy Exchange said the current arrangements were too expensive and had failed to cut re-offending.

It says £70m would be saved if tagging were done by police or probation officers instead of private firms.

The government said that from April new contracts for electronic monitoring would represent better value.

The Future of Corrections report said much of the potential benefits of tagging had not been realised.

Electronic monitoring of offenders, which includes ankle tags and satellite technology, is provided by companies G4S and Serco.

The report says almost £70m a year would be freed up if the firms handed over the technology so that police and probation officers could monitor and fit the ankle tags instead.

It said this would then pay for 2,000 probation officers or 1,200 additional police officers to work on offender management.

The report added that officers should also be able to make recommendations to courts and prison governors on who ought to be tagged.

'Victims reassurance'

Policy Exchange said that for each offender, electronic monitoring cost £13.14 per monitored day in England and Wales, while the equivalent in the US was £1.22.

Rory Geoghegan, the report's author, said: "Extending the use of tagging without these reforms will just see millions of pounds wasted and a real opportunity to cut crime missed."

Chris Miller, a former assistant chief constable who spoke for police chiefs on tagging, said: "What we have been given instead is a sclerotic, centrally controlled, top-down system that has enriched two or three large suppliers, that lacks the innovation and flexibility of international comparators, and that fails to demonstrate either that it is value for money or that it does anything to reduce offending."

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said new guidelines being introduced "call for a smarter, more integrated approach that takes advantage of the latest technology".

"Properly administered, new generation tagging can promote improved behaviour and give victims reassurance," he said.

'Robust alternative'

The critical report comes after G4S was awarded a five-year £13m contract by the Scottish government last week to run hi-tech new tags with GPS technology, giving authorities the ability to continuously track offenders' whereabouts.

Richard Morris, group managing director of G4S Care and Justice Services, said: "The use of electronic monitoring in England and Wales actually saves the taxpayer tens of millions of pounds each year by providing a robust alternative to expensive prison custody for offenders who are deemed suitable for tagging.

"We have also worked closely with the Ministry of Justice over the years to introduce innovations and changes to the original service which have resulted in improved value for money."

G4S monitors more than 50,000 people in more than 15 countries, he added.

Serco said it did not wish to comment.

 

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  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 320.

    303. Justin150
    If that is not enough British Leyland v virtually any car manufacturer based in UK now
    __________
    Err, that was down to p/poor, confrontational management, lack of quality control and a distinct lack of long term strategy..... bit like the Government really, and the banks

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 319.

    214.Tom OD depends on the reason for not fitting the tag if it is the person just refusing they should have that as a sacking offence in their contract if it is past their alloted hours the company should be fined £5000 if the offender is not available then they should be imprisoned. As someone in the field you should have seen most reasons and could make suggestions for the contract when renewed

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 318.

    what a suprise yet again we see private companies only intrested in profits not providing value for money like the tories and their supporters allways lie about.
    Its what private companies always do charge as much as possible for as long as possible while giving as little as possible and tories claim that equals value for money the morons

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 317.

    These tags have never worked the yobs love them its a badge of being a big boy ..look at me im tough , they sit on the bus with the trouser leg pulled up a bit so we can all see and quake ?? just give them one chance first offence then 5 years until they get the message .

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 316.

    Any one admitting to being 'it' yet, tagging doesn't work without someone being 'it'. I would volunteer but I've got a dodgy knee and it would be too easy for you.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 315.

    Since when do Liberals care about the costs of government policies? They just do stuff because they 'feel' so strongly that it's the 'moral' thing to do.

    Liberal: Go on a public spending binge? Oh yes! That 'feels' really 'moral'. Bankrupt the nation? Who cares about reality, when our 'feelings' and 'morals' are so much more important! Let's feel good and moral by spending like drunken sailors!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 314.

    Someone will have done a report that sold the government on how wonderful this tagging would be, with figures on the expected drop in re-offending, savings in prison costs and police time etc.

    That document has probably been proven to be fraudulent by now - so lets get the money back from those wideboys.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 313.

    I think the only punishment that gives victims reassurance is knowing the culprit is banged up. As to the cost of private firms it was always a no-brainer that the police/prison service could do it better and cheaper. How can private be cheaper when they have shareholders and fat cat CEOs to pay.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 312.

    What I don't understand is why tagging offenders needs a government contract at all, let alone one of £3 billion. Why not let someone like the cowboy wheel clampers loose on them with carte blanche to fine offenders who break curfew or remove tags? With lots of small companies competing for business the costs will plummet.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 311.

    Perhaps a new secure tagging device could be tried, with no electronics or mechanical parts to be interfered with. A 10 Kg metal ball should fit the bill, secured to the defender by a suitable chain.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 310.

    I come from a very rough background in Newcastle and I realized my family were not good people, and dragged myself up to get a science degree.
    Most criminals don't think what they're doing is wrong . The only thing they understand is physical threats. Bringing back the stocks would stop a lot of young criminals going on to more serious crimes.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 309.

    Maybe before everyone starts moaning that they private sector will always cost more or run a bad service then they should investigate how the German/France and Dutch health service is run. Its either all private or mostly and it seems to work for them. Having dealt with the civil service they are incompetent, lacking any form of initative and are highly institutionalised.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 308.

    303.Justin150
    "...For anyone who remembers telephone service in the 1970s BT as a private company is now miles cheaper and services is immeasurably better..."

    ===

    Not that old chestnut. System X telephony, the basis of all the improvements in facilities, was developed under public ownership. Privatisation was timed to coincide with its introduction, for obvious propaganda reasons.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 307.

    306.Name Number 6

    "...How on Earth could G4s ever be awarded another Government contract after the Olympics Scandal?..."

    ===

    Privatisation was never meant to be an efficient use of the public's money.

    It's intended to hand as much of it to the rich execs, (who went to the same schools as those doing the handing) as possible. They see this as retribution for their taxes, apparently.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 306.

    How on Earth could G4s ever be awarded another Government contract after the Olympics Scandal?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 305.

    302. pauluk1
    Dave stop listening to your CBI cronies they did not vote you in the electorate did.

    Err, I think you'll find we didn't. The Liberals told a pack of lies and then sided with a party that did the exact opposite of everything the Liberals promised. However much Clegg squirms and twists now, we won't forget that.

  • Comment number 304.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 303.

    #290 easy - BT

    For anyone who remembers telephone service in the 1970s BT as a private company is now miles cheaper and services is immeasurably better.

    If that is not enough British Leyland v virtually any car manufacturer based in UK now

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 302.

    The CBI might think private companys are cheaper to run but here is yet another example of the reverse the Nhs was 8% of GDP but will rise to 12% because of part privitisation all the money wasted on computer systems by the private sector which were useless and now tagging which costs too much
    Dave stop listening to your CBI cronies they did not vote you in the electorate did.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 301.

    The tagging system used in the UK is nothing short of ridiculous. All it checks, assuming the offender doesn't remove the tag, is that they are at home during their curfew hours. During the day they can carry on breaking into houses, beating up OAPs, stealing cars and dealing drugs just as they always have done. Burglars prefer to work days, when we are at work, anyway. Just lock them up!

 

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