Electronic monitoring: Important information for occupants
3 September 2020
The Court can impose electronic monitoring (EM) as part of a defendant's bail conditions while awaiting a Court hearing.
Being electronically monitored requires defendants to wear a tracker 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. A monitoring unit will be placed at their home address.
Before a defendant can be released to an address, a Probation Officer or Bail Support Officer will carry out a suitability check with regards to both the address and other occupants. Part of that process requires them to talk to all relevant occupants at the address to ensure they are happy for the defendant to live there.
Who is a relevant occupant?
- A relevant occupant is any person, 16 years of age and over, who is going to be living at the same address as the defendant if they are given electronically monitored bail.
- The relevant occupant includes anyone who is thinking about moving in or who moves into the address after the defendant has been granted electronically monitored bail.
What information will be sought from relevant occupants?
A Probation Officer or Bail Support Officer will contact the occupants at the proposed address.
If they agree in principle to the defendant living with them, the Officer will visit them at the house to talk about what is needed for electronic monitoring and go through a safety checklist. This will take about one hour. Occupants will also need to consent to a criminal and traffic history check and other checks that may need to be completed to assist the Officer with their assessment.
A Field Officer will also check that the electronic monitoring equipment will work at the address.
Obligations of relevant occupants
The occupants must agree to a number of conditions including:
- To have monitoring equipment in their house
- Not to move or damage the monitoring equipment
- To give a Field Officer (on showing proper identification) access to the house to maintain the equipment, response to alerts, or remove the equipment
- To give Police and Corrections staff access to the address for Electronic Monitoring purposes
- Each relevant occupant will sign the occupants consent form to show that they:
- Consent to the defendant living at the address on electronic monitoring and;
- Agree to abide by the conditions set for the electronically monitored bail
What happens if there are children living at the address?
A Probation officer or Bail Support Officer will make enquiries with Oranga Tamariki:
- If there are children, aged 16 years or under, living at the proposed address. This will happen even if the children are only there part-time.
- If the defendant has past conditions or current charges of offending against children.
Can occupants refuse consent?
Yes, an occupant may refuse consent. Occupants are encouraged to express any concerns they might have about the impact electronically monitored bail will have on them, family members or other occupants.
It is important that occupants do not feel duty bound or pressured to give their permission for the defendant to live at their address.
If consent is not given by one or more relevant occupants, the application will be declined.
What pressures might be on occupants?
An electronically monitored bail order can be stressful for occupants as well as defendants for a variety of reasons, such as:
- the restrictions on the defendant's ability to leave the address
- in some cases, because the defendant cannot bring income into the house
- the lack of general freedom of movement of social contact due to EM conditions
- lack of privacy with random visits being conducted by Police personnel and Field Officers to make sure EM conditions are being complied with.
All of this can be difficult for other occupants who provide support and do extra tasks on behalf of the defendant.
Once given, can occupants withdraw their consent?
Yes. Occupants may withdraw their consent at any time. Occupants don’t have to give any reason for withdrawing their consent.
Unless another suitable address can be found the defendant may be taken into Police custody and appear before a Judge who will re-examine suitability of the electronically monitored order.
Who can I contact if I have any questions or feel at risk?
When necessary, leave the address if this is a safe option for you, family members and other occupants.
In a non-emergency – not involving a risk to personal safety, contact the EM Bail team on 0800 EM BAIL (0800 362 245)
Can I work while subject to EM Bail?
Yes, however, you will need a bail condition that states you can attend employment. If you have this condition, approval will then need to be given before you can attend your chosen place of work.
Who approves the defendant to undertake employment?
The Judge decides if a defendant on EM Bail can continue working or start a new job, the EM Bail team will then monitor the defendant.
If the defendant is directed not to take up a particular type of employment or work for a particular employer, they will be given a full explanation why.
Reasons for directing the defendant not to engage in certain types of employment may include, but are not limited to, the;
- Nature of work and work place(s)
- Type of work being inappropriate, given the offending history
- Location of the work putting a victim or other person at risk
- Location presenting a risk to reoffending
- Direct interference with the offender’s ability to fulfil the standard and special conditions of their sentence, particularly any programmes they may be required to attend.
Who will be provided with information about the defendant's charges?
The employer or their identified representative will be told about the defendant's charges. Charges are confidential and no other employees need to know.
Who is responsible for the defendant at work?
Other than being responsible for providing the standard conditions for employment, the employer is not responsible for an electronically monitored defendant. However, an employer may be asked to verify attendance.
The employer is like an approved sponsor of the defendant and someone who the Court expects will be a positive influence and will not intentionally allow or support non-compliance with the terms and conditions of the electronically monitored bail order.
Will the defendant be visited while at work?
It is possible a Field Officer or Police may attend the defendant’s work place if there are any concerns around the defendant’s electronic monitoring equipment or if the defendant is in breach of any of their bail conditions.
Where possible, these visits will be made when it will cause the least disruption to the defendant's work.
Will the defendant need to have absences from work?
Yes, the employer must accept that the defendant may be required to attend Court or any other appointments that may be required in relation to their sentence or order, or the conditions of their bail.
What happens if the hours of work change?
Depending on the wording of the bail condition to attend employment (if it specifies work times or not), an application may need to be made via your lawyer to the Court requesting to change the bail condition.
If the Judge grants the variation to the defendant's bail conditions the EM Bail Team will be notified of the changes to the monitoring.
What happens if there is a change to the employment situation?
If a defendant’s terms or employment change the EM Bail team should be informed as soon as possible. Some changes may require a variation of the defendant's bail condition.
What happens if a defendant fails to report to work?
If a defendant fails to report to work, the employer or the employers identifies representative should notify the EM Bail team immediately or 0800 EM BAIL (0800 362 245) or via email embail@Corrections.govt.nz
Can an employer withdrawn their consent?
Employers may at any time withdraw their consent to a person on electronic monitoring working at their workplace. No specific reason for doing so is required.
How can I find out more about electronic monitoring?
You can find more information about EM from:
- Community Corrections site
If you are employing someone on EM Bail you can contact the EM Bail team directly on 0800 EM BAIL (0800 362 245) or via email embail@Corrections.govt.nz