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NZ Police to manage electronic bail monitoring

New Zealand Police to manage electronic bail monitoring

18 May 2006

The option of electronic monitoring as a special condition of bail before a person comes up for trial will be introduced later this year, said the National Manager of Police Prosecutions Service, Superintendent Graham Thomas.

Superintendent Thomas was commenting on the provision in Vote Police for funding electronic bail included in today's budget.

The project is aimed at providing the Court with an option to bail pre-trial remand prisoners on electronic monitoring, after assessment by Police for suitability.

New Zealand Police is leading a project to introduce electronic monitoring on bail of pre-trial remandees subject to strict assessment processes by police and final judicial approval as to bail.

New non sworn positions, over and above the 250 additional support positions announced as part of the Government's enhanced police staffing package, will be established within New Zealand Police to manage this initiative. Police staff will manage applications by defendants for release on bail with electronic monitoring and will conduct assessments as to their suitability for this option.

"Currently under the Bail Act 2000, a person charged with an offence can be remanded in custody, or released on bail (with or without special conditions) until trial. Bail with electronic monitoring will apply to those who have been remanded in custody, who make subsequent application to be considered for electronic monitoring before their trial, and who obtain judicial approval to do so. Central to any assessment and recommendations to the Court will be the interests of victims and community safety and, importantly, the need to preserve the integrity of the trial process," said Mr Thomas.

A person on bail with electronic monitoring will wear a special 'bracelet' which sends a continuous signal to a monitoring unit located at the house they are residing at.

If the person leaves the vicinity of the unit for an unapproved reason an alarm will be raised and responded to by local Police. In developing the tender process for the equipment, Police will also consider other technologies, such as Global Positioning System (satellite tracking), for their feasibility and cost.

"Bail on electronic monitoring is not a soft option. It is a form of intensive bail supervision which the police will be managing very closely," said Mr Thomas.


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