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Expert calls for improved tagging

TAGGING is not being used to its full potential and more could be done to protect victims, according to the head of electronic monitoring in Scotland.

There are 700 Scots tagged in the community but just 13 involve "restrictions from" a particular place, orders which were aimed primarily at protecting victims of domestic abuse.

The orders require victims to consent to having equipment installed in their house which warns the control centre if the tagged offender comes within 160 yards of them. Restrictions from a place have also been used by some sheriffs to exclude offenders from public places - including shopping centres where thefts have taken place.

Norman Brown, development director of G4S in Scotland, yesterday warned that more creative use could be made of tagging.

Mr Brown said: "We're not realising the potential of traditional radio frequency monitoring. There are only 13 'restriction from' orders and we're not seeing the breadth of curfews that could be used. Currently all the curfews are from 7pm to 7am. There are no daytime curfews. It is surprising considering the number of people who - like shoplifters - might be offending during the day. Surely for them, a daytime curfew would have merits.

"We're not necessarily looking to increase the number of orders but to look to maximise what the orders can do. In 2002, when 'restriction from' orders came in, there was a real buzz about them but that seems to have waned."

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