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Restriction of Liberty Orders

A Restriction of Liberty Order (RLO) is a court order that requires a person to remain within their home at times specified by the court. These orders are not managed by the Criminal & Youth Justice Service, although we help the courts decide on the appropriateness of this sentence through court reports.

How does a Restriction of Liberty Order operate?

A person's compliance with the order is monitored electronically, by their wearing a 'Personal Identification Device', more often called a tag (a device about the size of a digital watch, usually worn on the ankle). A 'Site Monitoring Unit' is installed into the person's home, which uses telephone technology to send a signal at irregular intervals to the tag to make sure the person is still in the house. Any failure to pick up the signal will result in an alert at the monitoring headquarters, and a G4S officer will contact the tagged person to find out why there appears to be a problem.

Who runs Restriction of Liberty Orders in Scotland?

The Restriction of Liberty Order is operated by an independent company, G4S, on behalf of the Scottish Government. Initial assessments are carried out by local authority Criminal Justice Social Workers within Criminal Justice Social Work Reports.

When does the court use this order?

There are three main situations when the court tends to use this sentence:

  • for offenders whose behaviour outside their home is causing concern. In this case, it is in effect a means of enforcing a curfew.
  • for offenders who could otherwise have been imprisoned.
  • the equipment can be used where appropriate to restrict someone from an area, for example to reduce risk of an assault.

What are the conditions of a Restriction of Liberty Order?

A tagged person is expected to:

  • Stay at the restriction place during the times ordered, and not arrive there late
  • Not attempt to remove the tag, or interfere or damage monitoring equipment
  • Not move address without permission
  • Not to physically assault monitoring staff
  • Keep away from any area that the person is restricted from.

What should the restricted person do if there is an emergency?

As with any court order, the first thing is to advise the Supervising Officer, and people are given full contact details, including a Freephone number to phone.

What happens if someone does not comply with their RLO?

The procedures are broadly the same as for most court orders - a restricted person is expected to produce evidence of their reasons for not complying, and if this is not acceptable, the order can be returned to court by G4S under Breach Proceedings.

Are there other circumstances where a tag can be used?

It is also possible for a tag to be used for a released prisoner as an additional condition of a Parole Licence.

Some prisoners serving short-term sentences may be released early on a Home Detention Curfew (HDC), which requires them to wear a tag and to be restricted to their home at certain times. This process is managed by the Scottish Prison Service; the Criminal & Youth Justice Service will only be involved at the assessment stage.