Hertfordshire GPS offender tracking pilot to be rolled out across UK
A more robust and advanced scheme to track offenders by GPS, which was piloted in Hertfordshire, is to be rolled out nationally.

Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd has welcomed the extension of the tagging scheme which uses satellites to pinpoint the location of those on bail or serving community sentences instead of jail.

This morning Mr Lloyd, who is also Chair of Hertfordshire Criminal Justice Board, attended the speech by Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice Dave Gauke MP where the roll-out was announced.

“I am pleased that Hertfordshire has played a key role in this pilot scheme and a major part in proving that it can be a success.
“We have been fully supportive of giving offenders mandatory tags to help relieve pressure on the Criminal Justice System. Our partners were very supportive of the scheme and were keen for it to continue.

“It is not about being soft on criminals, it is about better offering better protection for victims by ensuring closer monitoring of suspects and offenders. Plus reducing the number of victims by reducing reoffending rates.

“I got an assurance from the Minister today that victims’ voices will continue to be heard.”
The Hertfordshire pilot ended in March 2018 after running for 18 months alongside neighbouring forces in Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire and Cambridgeshire.

Those subject to the GPS trackers included those on court bail, Home Office Detention Curfews and community or suspended sentences. Prisoners released on licence or by the parole board were also tagged.

Independent evaluation conducted after the trial found benefits across the Criminal Justice System including those with the tags having better rehabilitation options available and a reduction in reoffending.

 The Justice Secretary Mr Gauke said: “I do not want community orders which are in any sense a ‘soft option’. I want a regime that can impose greater restrictions on people’s movements and lifestyle and stricter requirements in terms of accessing treatment and support. And critically, these sentences must be enforced.

“GPS tagging will help to better protect victims and give them the reassurance that perpetrators will not be able to breach an exclusion zone without triggering an immediate alert.

The scheme is an improvement on the previous ankle tagging scheme which only notified police if offenders left their houses outside of a curfew.
If a tagged domestic abuser or stalker enters a banned area or a gang member is found somewhere they should not be, this new capability will issue an automatic alert and their whereabouts will be known.

The tags also provide a tougher option for community sentences which can be used alongside requirements like alcohol or drug treatment programmes.
Location monitoring will go live in Hertfordshire plus the South West, South East and Wales by April 2019.