Electronic monitoring in Scotland: consultation on proposals for legislation

Consultation on proposals for legislation to extend the use of electronic monitoring in Scotland in support of broader community justice policy.

Part 3: Alternative to Remand and Support to pre-trial conditions

Alternative to Remand

We propose to introduce new legislative provisions which will provide courts with the option to restrict an individual's movements whilst on bail via the use of electronic monitoring.

There is a disproportionately high rate of people on remand in prison in Scotland. For the past decade the remand population has accounted for approximately 20% of the average daily prison population. Many of those on remand do not constitute a significant risk to the public.

Short-term imprisonment, of any kind, can disrupt families and communities. It adversely impacts on employment opportunities and stable housing which are the very things that evidence shows supports desistence from further offending.

The Working Group recommendation to using electronic monitoring as an alternative to remand opens up opportunities to reduce the use of remand and support more people in the community pre-trial, without losing sight of the need to ensure public safety. This may be used on a standalone basis or as part of a bail supervision package.

An electronic monitoring bail condition would be intended to be used as an alternative to remand i.e. where an individual would not normally have received bail without electronic monitoring. It is not intended to apply an electronic monitoring bail condition to those who would have received bail in any case.

As is the case whenever bail conditions are applied, a risk assessment must be carried out. Therefore, we will need to consider who is best placed to carry this out. This risk assessment will give consideration to public protection, inclusive of victims, and to preventing and reducing further offending by the individual.

Careful consideration will require to be given to the management of compliance and potential breaches, together with the use of a response framework. Some of this consideration will be taken forward in the work with partners and stakeholders on compliance and response frameworks.

Through funding we have supported bail supervision services across Scotland for a number of years. However, provision and usage is not Scotland-wide. The new model for criminal justice social work funding offers a flexibility which we expect will see local authorities put in place increased opportunities for bail supervision.

Question 10: Should electronic monitoring be introduced as an alternative to remand?


Question 10a: Please give reasons for your answer

Question 10b: If you answered yes to Question 10, when would you consider this appropriate?

Police Liberation on Undertakings and Investigative Liberation

We propose to introduce new legislative provisions which will provide Police Scotland with the option to restrict an individual's movements whilst they are released on pre-trial conditions via the use of electronic monitoring.

Police Liberation on Undertakings are used by the police routinely to release people from police stations when they have been charged, arrested and liberated to appear at a specified court on a specified date and time. This is an alternative to keeping a person in custody to appear at court the next lawful day.

Investigative Liberation allows the police to arrest a person for a crime punishable by imprisonment, interview them and release them pending further enquiries, such as waiting for forensic evidence .

The introduction of electronic monitoring as a condition of a Police Liberation on Undertakings or as a condition of Investigative Liberation, could strengthen the protection arrangements for victims and witnesses.

Question 11: Should electronic monitoring be permitted as a condition of Police Liberation or Investigative Liberation?


Question 11a: Please give reasons for your answer

Question 11b: If yes, when would you consider this appropriate?


Email: Electronic Monitoring Unit

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