Page last updated at 11:40 GMT, Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Courts get power to tag offenders

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BBC Northern Ireland's Home Affairs correspondent Vincent Kearney explains how the tagging system will work

Electronic tagging of offenders and suspects is to be introduced in Northern Ireland for the first time.

Criminal Justice Minister Paul Goggins said "tagging" was a way of managing offenders in the community and ensuring that curfews were kept.

From April, tagging will be used as a condition of bail or early release from prison or as part of a community sentence imposed by the courts.

Mr Goggins said it was a "significant step in protecting the public".

"It will support the rehabilitation and resettlement of offenders and assist in the enforcement of bail curfews."

Private security firm G4S has been appointed by the Northern Ireland Office to run the scheme.

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