Midlands police to track criminals by satellite
Midlands Police and probation officers are to track criminals from space using a new generation of GPS technology, under plans to be announced as part of the Queen’s Speech. Pilots will begin in September in Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Staffordshire, West Midlands, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northampton.
Satellites will track sophisticated electronic tags designed to will allow probation officers to follow a criminal’s location 24 hours a day.
But the tough regime could actually cut the number of people in Britain’s overcrowded jails, by making it possible to release more prisoners on licence or for the courts to impose more community sentences.
Eventually, the scheme will be rolled out across the entire country.
The tags are worn on the ankle, in a similar way to existing tags, and use GPS technology similar to satellite navigation systems in cars and phones.
Offenders can be tracked in real time with probation officers looking at their location on a screen.
It will be possible to tell if an offender enters an area from which they have been banned, such as a shopping centre, or if they are on the move in a car or train, because the system will pick up that they are travelling at speed.
The Queen’s Speech also includes a new way of managing prisons designed to cut re-offending. Prison governors will be given far more freedom over how their institution is run, including more control over how the prison budget is spent, allowing them to offer prisoners more opportunities for education, training and finding work.
They will be held to account with the publication of statistics revealing each prison’s success rate when it comes to re-offending by former inmates and whether prisoners manage to find a job on release. The figures will also reveal violence and self-harm rates for each institution.