I believe that it is important that we make cutting off a tag an offence for the following reasons. First, when we look at the circumstances of Craig McClelland’s death, it is clear that a significant number of people were unlawfully at large who had realised that they could cut off their tags and that that, in and of itself, did not constitute an offence and that they had a good chance of escaping detection. That needs to be corrected.
More important, if we decide that someone has committed an offence that requires us to deprive them of their liberty, and they tamper with the means by which we are restricting or removing their liberty, that is extremely serious, so I believe that doing so should be an offence. If we cannot monitor their whereabouts or whether they are abiding by the restriction of liberty, that must be considered an offence and should be treated as such.
It is not about elevating the electronic monitoring requirement above other conditions; it is about recognising that the tag is the primary measure that we will be using to deprive people of their liberty in such circumstances.