The Daily Mirror appears to have scooped their rivals (who all have copycat stories) with a "leaked" interim report on the Home Office trial of electronically tagged Sexual and Violent Offenders, using mobile / satellite GPS technology.
All the reported failings of this inappropriate use of Global Positioning Satellite technology in the UK's mostly urban environment, were obvious beforehand, as we predicted back in September 2004:
Equally disturbing in this "leaked" report is the apparent evidence of a deliberate Government policy to cover up the failure.
Will any of the officials and politicians responsible for this fiasco have enough honour to resign ?
"10 August 2005
£3MILLION PAEDO SPY FARCE
Sex offender tracker system doesn't work near tall buildings, trees or when it's cloudy
By Bob Roberts Deputy Political Editor
A SPY-in-the-sky system to track sex offenders is a disastrous failure, leaked documents reveal today.
Clouds, trees and buildings have all stopped police being able to follow convicted paedophiles and wife beaters.
Former Home Secretary David Blunkett launched the £3million satellite system last year saying it would revolutionise how sex offenders are monitored after being released from jail.
But new Home Secretary Charles Clarke ordered a media blackout on reports into the scheme after trials in Manchester proved a disaster.
A senior Home Office source said: "This was meant to be prison without bars.
"It turned out to be no prison at all as sex offenders were allowed to walk around freely and police had no idea where they were."
Leaked documents on the system, which uses technology similar to GPS in cars, said tests found severe "weaknesses".
The report to Mr Clarke said: "GPS can be accurate to within two to 10 metres but is subject to the following limitations:
"It relies on sight of the sky to give a location.
"The strength and accuracy of the signal generally relies on at least four satellites being visible.
"If the subject is between tall buildings, a canyon effect can prevent accurate location.
"Leaf cover and cloud cover can mask the strength of the signal.
"Location cannot be obtained on planes, some intercity trains and the Underground. Location is usually lost inside buildings." It added: "There is little prospect of overcoming these limitations in any substantial way during the lifetime of the pilot."
There were "concerns" that sex offenders could approach former victims.
The document said some sex offenders may also be reported as entering exclusion zones near victims' homes or schools when they were nowhere near them.
From September to June 178 offenders were tracked in the pilot. Only 29 were allowed off satellite tracking after officials considered they successfully completed their rehabilitation programmes.
Another 83 were sent back to jail for breaches of release conditions, although these were not necessarily connected with the technology.
The other 66 continued to be monitored.
But instead of scrapping the scheme, Ministers ordered a media blackout on the reports and could continue the experiment.
The document said: "We have not sought to publicise the pilot scheme since its launch in September 2004 due to the risks of negative media coverage of the poor results to date.
"There are risks to attracting media attention.
"The pilots are not yet delivering the volume of offenders expected.
"Media attention may highlight some of the difficulties with the technology and raise questions about the cost and low throughput of offenders."
The memo to Mr Clarke and other senior Home Office Ministers, added: "You were not prepared to take that risk."
It added: "Press Office strongly advise against any publicity at the current time." Instead it is recommended the scheme is continued and widened to improve the results.
The document said: "We recommend that you agree to the proposed extension of the pilot until 31 March 2006.
"This would allow sufficient time for improved results and deliver justification of the large financial commitment."
It adds that Ministers should "delay any media announcement until interim results significantly improve."
The leak is a huge embarrassment for the Home Office.
When Mr Blunkett launched the scheme he boasted it would mean the authorities could monitor the movements of released criminals.
Electronic tags worn on the ankle tell private security companies only when someone leaves their home.
But satellite tracking was meant to let the police pinpoint convicted criminals' location to within a few feet.
Mr Blunkett said it would create a "prison without bars" where exclusion orders or curfews could be rigorously enforced.
Paedophiles could be banned from approaching schools and wife beaters could be told to stay away from their victims.
He said: "The Government is determined to be at the cutting edge of technology. This will allow us to develop and promote tough community sentences."
But the Home Office source said: "There are many people within the prison and police service who regard it as a waste of time and money. It has been a disaster."