Mark SayManaging EditorWednesday 27 September 2017

Home Office plans GPS tracking for immigrant offenders

Department tests market for satellite technology to monitor movements of people on immigration bail

The Home Office has begun testing the water for the use of satellite tracking technology in keeping tabs on foreign offenders on immigration bail.

GPS satellite in orbitIt has published a prior information notice with a declaration that it is looking for service providers for secure tags, the supporting software, a monitoring capability, the ability to produce management reports and a field service to respond to alerts.

The move is part of the implementation of the Immigration Act of 2016, which includes a clause for electronically monitoring people subject to a deportation order or proceedings, including those granted immigration bail.

This includes the imposition of curfews and exclusion zones, requiring the use of a monitoring device akin to the tags fitted to offenders’ ankles – although the information notice says the deal should include less intrusive devices for the lower risk cases.

The Home Office wants satellite technology to monitor the movements of people fitted with a device, with an alert capability for if they try to remove it. It said the solution could involve a mix of location technology including radio frequency.

It also indicated that any resultant contract may be split into lots, with a decision to be made later in the procurement process.

Public protection claim

The Government made a commitment in the preparation of the Immigration Bill to tag all foreign offenders who are not detained but waiting for deportation. It emphasised the use of GPS technology, claiming it would improve public protection, but said there would be exceptions if there could be a breach of human rights.

James Brokenshire, the then immigration minister, said: “Through the Immigration Bill we will legislate to use GPS satellite technology to tag foreign national offenders whom we are seeking to deport when they are released on immigration bail.”

Image from USAF, public domain