Scottish government reveals huge social work statistical error

The Scottish government has revealed that criminal justice social work statistics released last month contained a huge error, concerning breaches of electronic tagging orders.

The original figures on restriction of liberty orders – under which offenders are tagged and confined to particular areas – showed a 61% rise from 2005-6 to 2006-7 in reports to the courts on breaches of orders.

However, revised figures published yesterday revealed there was actually a 7.6% fall in breach reports. The Scottish government, Serco Ltd, which it has contracted to provide the electronic monitoring system, included less serious breaches that resulted in a warning letter to the offender in the original figures.

Justice secretary Kenny MacAskill said: “We are reviewing procedures with Serco, who provided this information, to ensure any lessons are learned and we avoid further mistakes in the future. This is clearly a serious error and led to accusations at the time that electronic monitoring is not working.”

He added that the revised figures revealed the benefits of community alternatives to prison.


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