Helen Fletcher, Policy Manager at the Office of the Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC), provided us with insights into their Voluntary Offender Tagging Scheme.
The scheme, a successful example of collaboration and partnership work amongst statutory services, started in April 2014 and has 13 Electronic Monitoring (EM) Global Positioning Statement (GPS) tags. The tags also operate as curfew tags and switch to Radio Frequency (RF) mode when in the catchment zone of the home-based monitoring unit. The tags are deployed by Dorset Police’s Integrated Offender Management (IOM) Unit, known as ‘Turnaround’. The IOM is staffed by one sergeant, two constables, and a researcher. The contract for the tag is with 3M who provide the monitoring and alert system to Dorset Police.
The system is securely web-based so other units such as MOSOVO (Management of Sexual Offenders and Violent Offenders) can be given access details as Dorset Police has several licences. Around 50 prolific and other priority offenders are managed by the scheme and it is mainly GPS trackers used for prolific offenders. The scheme is voluntary and usually used in conjunction with prison licence requirements. The monitoring is carried out by the team ‘in house’ and the information obtained is shared within the force and wider Turnaround partners, including probation and drug intervention teams. Tag data consistently provides reassurance of non-offending, compliance with prison licence conditions, and compliance with probation directives.
At the time of writing, Dorset had tagged 83 individuals, some on multiple occasions. Early findings showed that from January to March 2018, of 15 tag wearers only 4 reoffended. Work is in progress to increase the use of tags in Dorset and they are liaising with partner organisations such as NPS and the CRC. Although this scheme differs from other practices that look to be rehabilitative and supportive, it is still clear that there is definite success in this embedded and collaborative work.
The recent Domestic Abuse Bill, allowing for electronic monitoring/tagging to be used on perpetrators as a condition in domestic abuse orders, is an example of how the use of tags can be extended to work with other types of offences.
This case study was compiled and edited by Jaskirat Mann in 2018.