Friday, March 23, 2007

Tagging Fiasco

Pretentious chocolate money

The Home Office loves tagging criminals because it's cheap: much cheaper than their £40 grand a year prison places. We punters have have always had different priorities: we'd like dangerous thugs locked away so they can't commit "1,000 violent crimes including four manslaughters, one murder, 56 woundings and more than 700 assaults".

Now it turns out the whole scheme is even more of a fiasco than we'd feared. Group 4 Securicor, the main £45m pa contractor, has made a complete horlicks of the job: paedophiles unmonitored, equipment failures, unprofessional staff, etc, etc.

There are two familiar conclusions:

  • tagging puts the public at risk- the theory may sound attractive to some, but the practice is low-grade staff operating undependable technology, easily circumvented by any halfway competent villain

  • a government department has once again proved incapable of managing its subcontractors- this whole mess has been uncovered not by them- still less by G4S- but by an undercover reporter.

Guarding the guards is always tricky. But at least if they're all banged up behind twenty foot walls, we don't have to worry if it goes wrong.

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