Calls for modernised criminal tagging after ‘concerning’ breaches

Data showed that fewer than three quarters (72.6%) of tagging orders were completed 'without breach, revocation or resentence'.

Scottish Labour calls for modernised criminal tagging after ‘concerning’ breaches Getty Images

More than a quarter of offenders being monitored in the community with electronic tags have breached their order, had them revoked or had a new sentence imposed, figures have revealed.

Scottish Labour said data obtained using freedom of information laws showed that fewer than three quarters (72.6%) of tagging orders were completed “without breach, revocation or resentence”.

It revealed the “concerning” figures as it called for electronic tagging in Scotland to be modernised.

GPS monitoring tags and alcohol use-detection devices are allowed under 2019 legislation, with Labour saying both have been used “extensively” in England and Wales but have yet to be deployed in Scotland, where radio frequency tags are used instead.

Labour community safety spokeswoman Katy Clark said the party backs “using this technology more effectively and the rapid introduction of GPS”.

Figures from the start of October 2023 showed that 1,724 people in Scotland were being monitored with an electronic device.

Ms Clark said: “It’s concerning that so many individuals fitted with tagging devices are failing to comply with their conditions – especially as Scotland lags behind on tagging technology.

“Eyebrows will be raised that steps are not being taken to then address the issue when a breach occurs.

“It’s a reminder that Scotland is still a way behind when it comes to effective of use of electronic monitoring.”

Used correctly, electronic monitoring of offenders “could be an important tool as a rehabilitative measure, an alternative to custody” and could also help prevent crime and reoffending, she said.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said the figures cited by Labour included cases were “orders have been revoked because a monitored person’s behaviour has been positive and authorities judge that electronic monitoring is no longer required”.

They said: “Further expanding the use of electronic monitoring, including with GPS, is one of many approaches being taken to address the prison population.

“Radio frequency monitoring is a tried-and-tested way of monitoring curfew and will still remain part of the range of electronic monitoring options in future years.”

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