More than half of criminals re-offend while under curfew

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MORE than six out of 10 Wigan criminals breach their curfews while electronically tagged - sometimes by re-offending and sometimes repeatedly.

Shock new figures released through a Freedom of Information request reveal that 62 per cent of the 302 offenders sentenced to an electronically monitored curfew breached the rules of their punishment.

This is far higher than the previous year’s figure of 52 per cent re-offending.

And nearly half of the 189 who did breach their curfew broke it not once, but twice.

A further 11 crooks re-offended three or more times and 14 added five or more crimes to their criminal records.

Electronically-monitored curfews consist of a tag attached to a person, allowing their whereabouts to be tracked.

Offenders need to keep within a time limit and remain at home during certain hours, usually early evening to early morning.

The shock figures have led to calls for the tags to be scrapped.

A report last year by the think-tank Policy Exchange said handing police and probation officers a greater role in tagging and tracking offenders would save £70million.

“It fails to show value for money or that it does reduce offending,” Chris Miller, former assistant chief constable, said: “Much of the potential of electronic monitoring to keep our communities safe has not been realised.

“What we have instead is a centrally controlled system that has enriched two or three large suppliers, that lacks the innovation and flexibility of international comparators and fails to demonstrate it’s value for money or it does anything to reduce offending.”

Overall, the number of criminals sentenced to the curfew by Wigan magistrates is falling, from 536 in 2010, to 408 in 2012 and 302 last year,

This is in line with Ministry of Justice statistics that show the number of people sentenced to a community sentence has fallen since 2007.

A spokesman for Ministry of Justice said: “For community orders, adding a curfew to supervision can cut the number of re-offences within a year by 12 per cent.

“Enforcement action is taken where the offender fails to comply with the curfew without a reasonable excuse.

“This does not necessarily involve the commission of a further offence.

“The legislation governing enforcement action differs depending on the disposal involved, but it is possible to issue the offender with one or more warnings before a failure to comply with the curfew without a reasonable excuse must be taken back to court.”