Lithuania introduces offender tracking systems

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Tracking devices have been adopted by Lithuanian law enforcement agencies to track offenders in pre-trial investigation cases while they are restricted to home confinement.

The homing systems, which consist of three devices as well as software, have been supplied by FIMA. The company has been awarded the contract with the Police Department after submitting the winning tender for the lease of intensive supervision equipment. The contract is renewable after the initial period.

At the start of the project, FIMA supplied 100 GPS offender tracking device systems, but can increase the number up to 1,000 if required. FIMA also supplied the required software, configured the systems for use, provided training to staff and will ensure mobile communications and continuous operation of the systems.

“The purpose and application of this system calls for uncompromising reliability and security. The equipment must operate without interruptions and must be resistant because we’re dealing with public safety here. The experienced FIMA team was prepared to take on those challenges and, as a result, Lithuanian police will be using one of the most advanced and reliable personal electronic tracking systems on the market,” FIMA Solutions Department Director Rokas Šlekys said.

A single system consists of a radio transmitter that is attached to the wrist or ankle of the defendant, a portable GPS device transmitting the location of the individual and a base unit.

Tracked defendants will be required to be within a certain permitted area, such as home, at the specified times. It is also possible to establish prohibited zones for the defendant. The defendant will be required to adhere to a certain daily schedule. The devices are tamper-resistant and send an alarm if they are broken.

Parole officers will be able to monitor the location of the defendant and respond to any breach of parole conditions. The new system is expected to reduce the number of suspects held in detention. Tracking devices are considered to be the second strictest restraining measure after custody, but it costs three to four times less than keeping a person in custody.

“Intensive surveillance and control with the use of these electronic devices will create better conditions for defendants who are under a restraining order, but we will have to be careful in assessing the individual’s personality before assigning this measure. If they demonstrate that they are willing to keep to the assigned schedule, they will be able to stay at home rather than going into custody. In addition, this is a new system for us, so law enforcement agencies will have to collaborate closely among themselves,” Police Commissioner-General Linas Pernavas said.