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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 September 2007, 00:28 GMT 01:28 UK
Court order text scheme expands
Mobile phone screen
A 30-day trial has been running in Dundee
A text alert scheme which reminds criminals to turn up for community service is to be extended to other types of court orders.

Offenders have been sent messages the day before their appointment in a bid to improve attendance rates in a number of areas of Scotland, including Dundee.

Officials in the city now plan to send text reminders to drug addicts and offenders on probation.

They have also recommended other local authorities adopt the scheme.

Dundee City Council's director of social work admitted he had been unable to tell if the initiative had made an impact on attendance rates.

SMS alert

However, in a report to the Tayside Community Justice Authority, Alan Baird said it had resulted in better communication between staff and offenders and that the early indications were "encouraging".

He said: "Dundee City are now planning to extend the usage to other teams in the hope that the service will result in an improvement in compliance rates across a number of areas including Community Service, Probation and Drug Treatment and Testing.

"The effectiveness of this will be monitored on an ongoing basis.

"It is proposed that the Local Authorities continue to explore the potential uses and advantages of the SMS alert system and introduce it as appropriate to local requirements."

Criminal justice workers in Dundee said the text reminders would be particularly useful for drug addicts, who often missed appointments because of their chaotic lifestyles.

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