Nottinghamshire police commissioner has been fitted with an offenders’ tag equipped with GPS as part of a pilot scheme verifying the new technology.
Nottinghamshire Police has previously run a three-month trial using these advanced tags and has concluded the technology could significantly improve their work.
Previously, criminals have only been equipped with tags capable of distinguishing whether they are at home, within the reach of a base station, or breaking the curfew. However, the new technology allows monitoring them in real time wherever they go. Officers can then overlay offender's movements with crime patterns which enables their immediate location and arrests, if the need arises.
"These new GPS tags are a powerful tool in our work to reduce the number of victims of crime and to encourage people who have previously been convicted, not to reoffend,” said Mr Tipping, Nottinghamshire police commissioner, who has volunteered to test the technology on his own body.
"I was keen to find out for myself what it's like to be fitted with a tag and what it means to wear one day and night,” he said, confessing he is a big supporter of GPS-equipped tags.
Nottinghamshire Police reported many benefits during the trial including increased quality of intelligence, a decrease in unnecessary investigations and arrests and a reduction in crime. The technology, though it might have initially been viewed negatively by the offenders, was also said to have positive psychological effects on offenders.
"There are benefits for the wearer as this tag can eliminate them from inquiries simply by proving where they were, or weren't, saving time and stress, while its very effectiveness provides an excellent reason to stay away from crime," Tipping said.
However, widespread deployment of this technology would require the Government to change the law to allow courts to order offenders to wear the new-style GPS tags.
At present the courts can only order a person to wear a standard tag, which monitors whether a person is at their home address and alerts the authorities when they leave.