The Ministry of Justice is introducing location monitoring tags to Youth courts across England and Wales as an option for Bail, Remand to Local Authority Accommodation (RLAA) and Youth Rehabilitation Orders (YROs). This follows the introduction of location monitoring to eligible adult cohorts which was completed in September 2019. The roll-out of satellite-enabled tags is the most significant change in Electronic Monitoring (EM) since 1999, and provides a valuable extra tool for the management of offenders and defendants in the community.
What is location monitoring?
The tags use satellite technology to record the location of a wearer 24 hours a day. Location monitoring will be available alongside the electronic monitoring of curfew requirements, which remains an important option for the management and supervision of offenders and defendants. Location tags provide additional options, allowing the monitoring of:
- Compliance with exclusion zones;
- Attendance at a particular activity or appointment
- Multiple conditions or requirements if necessary, such as a combination of exclusion zones, curfew and monitored attendance.
How can defence solicitors use location monitoring?
When making submissions to a court on sentence, defence solicitors should be aware of the possibility that EM may be considered by the court as a condition of Bail, RLAA or a YRO and if instructed may wish to proactively suggest this to the court.
The MoJ suggest that defence solicitors may wish to consider the following:
“Location monitoring options can be very precisely aligned to the individual, specifically addressing their patterns of behaviour in a much more sophisticated way than was previously possible. The tag can be aligned to monitor exclusion zones of all sizes and types, including addresses, a selection of streets, or larger areas such as postcodes or towns.
The technology can provide an effective deterrent against breaching exclusion requirements. One subject on a location tag said:
‘I’ve walked in an exclusion zone before, not realising …That was before I had the tag on, so I wasn’t really bothered about getting seen. Now, with the tag, I knew full well that if I go in that exclusion zone, I’m [going to] get seen no matter what’
As well as fulfilling a restrictive element, the technology can also support rehabilitation. In particular, subjects have valued that the tags gave them an incentive to stay out of trouble, providing them with a credible excuse to dissociate from peers who were encouraging criminal behaviour."
When and where is it available?
The MoJ is now rolling out the tags across the whole of England and Wales as an option in two stages:
27 January – London courts (for those managed by a London Youth Offending Team)
30 March – all courts across England and Wales (subject to post-implementation review work)
Each court will be informed by the MoJ when this becomes available as an option.
If you would like more information, please contact EMChange@justice.gov.uk