Compliance with location monitoring (GPS) conditions in the criminal justice process

Electronic monitoring (EM) has been a feature of criminal justice in England and Wales since the 1990s, but location monitoring, using Global Positioning Schemes (GPS), has only recently been introduced. It is available for use pre-trial, as a sentence and as part of early release arrangements. Its introduction represents a significant addition to the tools available to criminal justice agencies to monitor individuals’ whereabouts and/or their compliance with a range of conditions whilst in the community. It signals a step change in the capacity of criminal justice agencies to track the movements of large numbers of individuals remotely, allowing compliance with conditions to be more closely monitored with less reliance on scarce human resources. Location monitoring has the potential to significantly increase the reach of criminal justice agencies resulting in considerable ethical and human rights concerns. 

The project is a collaboration with Electronic Monitoring (EM) Directorate at Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) responsible for overseeing the implementation of location monitoring (LM) and Electronic Monitoring Services (EMS), the private contractor who operates EM. It will be first empirical study of compliance with non-custodial options using location monitoring (GPS) technologies in the criminal justice system. It seeks to understand whether, and in what ways, location monitoring increases compliance with non-custodial measures in the criminal justice system. It will adopt a mixed methods approach utilising documentary, administrative and interview data. The project will utilise, and add empirical understanding to, the conceptual and theoretical debates on compliance within criminal justice as well as to broader debates on compliance and regulation. The project will also engage with the interdisciplinary literature on technological enabled compliance and surveillance studies. The project findings are expected to influence EM policy and practice by enhancing the current level of knowledge for the partners and wider EM community.

The project involves spending time on a regular basis with the project partners in London and Manchester, including two weeks during the first six months of the project. The project will also involve both overnight stays and unsocial hours as most activity relating to EM takes place in the evenings. 

The successful applicant will need security clearance at the required level from HMPPS and this process requires disclosure of criminal convictions.

Entry requirements

Candidates should hold a minimum 2:1 UK first degree or equivalent.

Additional staff contact

Informal inquiries are welcome. Please contact Professor Anthea Hucklesby ( / Tel: +44 (0)113 343 5013).

If you require any further information on the application process, please contact the Postgraduate Research Admissions team on

How to apply

1.    Applicants applying on both a +3 and 1+3 basis should first of all apply for the relevant research postgraduate programme to commence 1 October 2019 and obtain their Student ID Number.  Please note that the School of Law has set an internal deadline for applying for PhD study at 5pm on 17 May 2019.

2.    Applicants should complete the research on-line scholarship application form available at: by the relevant deadline. 

It is important that you select the correct studentship type for which you wish to apply, as this will determine the sections you will be asked to complete.

After receipt of your studentship application, the relevant School will provide further advice on your suitability for either a 1+3 or +3 studentship and advise whether you are required to apply for a Masters study place for the MA Social Research (Interdisciplinary) programme.

Full awards will cover UK/EU academic fees and a tax-free maintenance grant paid at standard Research Council rates (£14,777 in Session 2018/19) for full-time study, together with other allowances if appropriate.  EU applicants will be eligible for an award paying tuition fees only, except in exceptional circumstances, or where residency has been established for more than 3 years prior to the start of the course.

How to apply (email)

How to apply (phone)

+44 (0)113 343 5009