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500 Northern Ireland offenders tagged in a year

Over 500 Northern Ireland people have been electronically tagged by the courts in the first year of the system, Justice Minister David Ford has revealed.

The total of 550 between April of last year, when it was introduced, and this March comprised 449 adults and 101 juveniles.

Curfews with an electronic monitoring requirement can be imposed by the courts as a condition of bail, community sentence or post-custody licence.

Sinn Fein MLA Caral Ní Chuilin said: “The figures are alarming. Tagging does not always work, and people need to know the bail conditions of those who are tagged so that they can give any relevant information to the PSNI.”

Mr Ford replied, however: “We need to be careful that we do not expect electronic tagging to do more than it can. However, there is no doubt that where individuals have agreed to be tagged, it has played a useful role in monitoring curfews.

“How we deal with other potential breaches of bail conditions is beyond the ability of an electronic tag.”

Belfast Telegraph