Electronic monitoring in Scotland: analysis of consultation responses

Analysis of responses to consultation on proposed legislation regarding electronic monitoring in Scotland.

2. Introduction


2.1 The Scottish Government believes that electronic monitoring has a role to play in supporting its vision for a safer, fairer and more inclusive nation, in which those who have been victims of crime can feel safer and more reassured, and those with a history of offending can be supported to be active and responsible contributors to their communities.

2.2 Electronic monitoring was first piloted in Scotland in 1998, before being rolled out nationally in 2002 as a Restriction of Liberty Order ( RLO), which is imposed only by courts. Since then, confidence has grown in the technology involved, and understanding has developed as to how electronic monitoring could be used more widely. It is currently used to monitor a number of different community disposals in addition to being included as a licence condition on release from prison.

2.3 Following a Scottish Government consultation in 2013 an Electronic Monitoring Expert Group was established to consider how electronic monitoring could be better used within the criminal justice system in Scotland. The Group reported in 2016 [2] and set out a strategy with eight recommendations on how to take this forward. These recommendations were accepted by the Cabinet Secretary for Justice.

2.4 Some of the recommendations require both primary and subordinate legislation to enact, in addition to amendments to current provisions. On 2 March 2017, the Scottish Government published a consultation paper [3] seeking views in relation to legislative changes to extend the use of electronic monitoring in Scotland in support of broader community justice policy. Responses were invited by 19 May 2017.

Consultation responses

2.5 The Scottish Government received 63 responses to the consultation. Table 2.1 overleaf shows the distribution of responses by category of respondent. A full list of respondents is in Annex 1. The respondent category applied to each response was agreed with the Scottish Government policy team.

2.6 59% of responses were submitted by organisations; 41% were from individuals. Organisations were representative of a wide range of stakeholders, with the largest category being partnerships, comprising 17% of all respondents.

Table 2.1 Distribution of responses by category of respondent

Category No. of respondents % of all respondents
Partnerships 11 17
Third Sector 8 13
Justice Bodies 6 10
Private Sector 4 6
Local Authorities 2 3
Social Work Bodies 2 3
Health 1 2
Other 3 5
Total Organisations 37 59
Total Individuals 26 41
Grand total 63 100

Analysis of responses

2.7 Most of the 63 responses were submitted using Citizen Space. Responses were downloaded onto an Excel spreadsheet for analytical purposes. Five responses were submitted outwith Citizen Space. Their content was examined by the analyst, with views extracted and entered onto the Excel analytical database at relevant parts, in order to be analysed alongside the other responses.

2.8 The consultation document posed 17 questions, most containing both closed (Yes/No) and open elements. Quantitative approaches were undertaken to analyse the responses to the closed aspects of questions, including counts of those providing a view, counts of those agreeing or disagreeing with proposals, broken down by sector of respondent, and percentages at aggregate level of those agreeing or disagreeing with proposals. Qualitative research approaches were used to analyse responses to the open aspects of questions, with key themes and sub-themes identified and reported. Where sector-specific views emerged, these are also reported.

Structure of the report

2.9 The consultation document was structured into seven key parts. This report of the analysis of responses to the consultation follows the structure of the consultation document:

Part 1: Exploiting opportunities afforded by new technologies. ( Chapter 3 of this report presents a summary of views.)

Part 2: Extending the use of electronic monitoring in a community setting. ( Chapter 4)

Part 3: Alternative to remand and support to pre-trial conditions. ( Chapter 5)

Part 4: Extending the use of electronic monitoring for the purposes of temporary release from prison. ( Chapter 6)

Part 5: Information and data sharing and retention. ( Chapter 7)

Part 6: Electronic monitoring equipment. ( Chapter 8)

Part 7: Impact assessments. ( Chapter 9)

2.10 The consultation document raised the possibility of extending the use of electronic monitoring to the context of domestic abuse. Whilst the consultation did not pose a question specifically on this topic, some respondents provided relevant comments, and these have been reported as appropriate throughout the analysis.


Email: Electronic Monitoring Team, electronicmonitoringmailbox@gov.scot

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

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