In a move that I confess to having missed G4S bought up part of a company called Guidance Monitoring about 18 months ago. Under normal circumstances I wouldn’t worry about it, and that’s probably why I missed it.
Who are/were Guidance Monitoring? They are a company formed in the early 1990s by Malcolm Roberts and John Potter, the company’s current managing director and product director respectively. They are/were suppliers of offender tracking technologies to governments across the world (Tagging).
After the deal was complete G4S CEO David Taylor-Smith (he’s since resigned after the Olympics debacle) said “We believe their market-leading technology provides the best platform for future global expansion in the offender monitoring marketplace, and we look forward to working with them to build this business in the UK and overseas.” Malcolm Roberts said “The opportunity to work with G4S teams around the world on introducing this cost-effective and proven technology into new markets is an extremely exciting prospect.”
Just last month G4S won a lucrative £13 million contract to take on Tagging in Scotland for 5 years using this very technology. Their stated aim is to expand this arm of their business globally. They took on too much for the Olympic Games 2012, or so it would appear. They took on too much with Cheshire Custody Services and the Police Authority took it back in house. Is this another step too far? According to a recent article in the Daily Mail the existing system – operated by G4S and Serco – is outdated and expensive. My old friends Policy Exchange are even advocating giving Tagging back to the Police in order to save £70 million. “Policy Exchange said the current arrangements were too expensive and had failed to cut re-offending. It says £70m would be saved if tagging were done by police or probation officers instead of private firms.”