Thanks to an email from one of our readers for pointing us to this detailed article in the Nottingham Evening Post about a worrying aspect of the recently concluded high profile murder case. The case of Peter Williams, convicted as the accomplice, in the shooting murder robbery of Marian Bates, the jewellery business owner who tried to defend her daughter, reveals a whole catalogue of blunders involving electronic tagging.
An interesting detail caught our attention:
"Estimates suggest sending someone to prison for a year costs a minimumof £24,000 but tagging an offender costs just £2,000. Current tags only allow supervisors to know if an offender is where they are supposed to be. An alarm is triggered if they move a certain distance from a monitor at home.
The monitor is connected to a central control room by telephone line - or if there is no phone line - as in the Williams case - is checked by a touring detector van"
Why are people released from custody to an address which does not have a phone line ?
Why do the authotities not install and pay for a dedicated phone line as part of the monitoring cost ?
How on earth is a system like this supposed to be secure or reliable enough to keep track of Violent ot Sexual Offenders, or of Terrorist Suspects subject to Control Orders ?
"The young thief had been tagged three weeks before the murder as part of his release from Onley Young Offenders Institution.
And today the Nottingham Youth Offending Team admitted he had removed the device - and had repeatedly missed appointments with the team following his release from jail on September 10.
The Youth Offending Team (YOT) admitted it should have issued a court summons against the 19-year-old for missing seven appointments in 13 days. It should have been issued on September 18.
But an "error of judgment" meant he was not sent a summons until September 23, despite Williams being given a final warning on September 19.
On September 23 he removed his electronic tag, a move which was not picked up by the security firm monitoring it.
It was only six days later, on September 29, that an acquaintance of Williams tipped off the YOT to say Williams had removed the tag.
Officials went to Williams' house, but he was not there. He would then have been issued a summons to court, a spokesman for the Youth Offending Team said.
But he stressed there was still no evidence Williams was a high-risk offender.
The YOT claims that, even if it had taken action on September 19, Williams' case would not have made it to court until after September 30.
The delay, due to the time taken to prepare papers and in the court processing and finding a date to hear the case, meant the teenager would still have been free to play his part in the shooting of Marian Bates.
Despite this, a Serious Incident Review was launched at the YOT, which said the team must understand and adhere to national standards and improve the time taken to take cases to court.