Feeds

East Midland's crook tagging shambles exposed

Dodgy kit allows offenders to go walkabout

Security for virtualized datacentres

Technology and procedural shortcomings left tagged offenders released into the community on license unmonitored for weeks, an undercover investigation by the BBC has discovered.

Group Four Securicor (G4S), the firm responsible for tagging and tracking more than 1,000 people across the East Midlands, has suspended five people after admitting it failed its duties in "a small number of cases".

A BBC Inside Out inquiry uncovered evidence of systematic flaws with the firm's systems that left ex-cons - including a number of sex offenders - unmonitored. It also produced evidence of criminal dishonesty.

A BBC reporter obtained the evidence after working undercover with G4S for four months. He filmed workers allegedly faking records of tagged installations in order to meet targets.

Monitoring boxes in the homes of tagged offenders are designed to keep tabs on their whereabouts. But the investigation revealed that unreliable mobile phone technology often led to a failure in the system. A backlog of work meant it sometimes took G4S weeks to arrange a visit to monitored offenders houses in order to replace faulty kit. In the meantime, offenders went unmonitored. "We don't know what they're doing. They could have been in Barbados for a week while it is 'missing status' - we wouldn't know," one staffer told the BBC reporter.

Workers believe that the monitoring technology used by G4S is unreliable. "The kit is rubbish - it lets you down every time," another said.

One offender said he had taken his tag off 10 times during curfew hours, a breach of his bail condition that normally ought to be followed up by the probation service, without any comeback.

The BBC confronted Group Four Securicor with evidence from its investigation. The firm admitted a problem in a limited and unspecified number of cases. It said the equipment it used had been tested and approved by the Home Office.

Harry Fletcher, from the National Association of Probation Officers, questioned the policy of allowing private companies to run tagging schemes. "I knew that there were problems with tagging but what this programme shows it that the problems with tagging are immensely worse than I thought. We have questions of falsifying records, of dishonesty, of faulty equipment, and given that this scheme's been around for the best part of 20 years it is both extremely surprising and very shocking."

The Inside Out East Midlands investigation is due to be broadcast on Friday on BBC 1 at 7.30pm. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
NASTY SSL 3.0 vuln to be revealed soon – sources (Update: It's POODLE)
So nasty no one's even whispering until patch is out
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Forget passwords, let's use SELFIES, says Obama's cyber tsar
Michael Daniel wants to kill passwords dead
FBI boss: We don't want a backdoor, we want the front door to phones
Claims it's what the Founding Fathers would have wanted – catching killers and pedos
Kill off SSL 3.0 NOW: HTTPS savaged by vicious POODLE
Pull it out ASAP, it is SWISS CHEESE
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.