New figures show that almost 250 offenders removed their electronically monitored trackers during the 2015/16 year.

Most absconders were on home detention, and 15 were still being sought by police.

The Department of Corrections annual report, released on Friday, revealed that in the 10 months from August 2015 to June this year, 13,499 people were placed on electronic monitoring.

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As at June 30 this year, 4011 offenders and alleged offenders remained on electronic monitoring.

The 4011 people included 1629 sentenced to community detention, 1603 sentenced to home detention, 105 released on parole, 94 people released from prison and subject to extended supervision orders and 448 on bail awaiting trial, sentencing or their next court appearance.

The report shows that as of June 30, 15 offenders in total were still being sought by police.

Corrections said that in the 2015/16 year, 97.1 per cent of offenders did not remove their trackers.

Of those who did remove their trackers and abscond, only 13.5 per cent were convicted of a new offence committed during their electronic monitoring sentence or bail.

Corrections national Commissioner Jeremy Lightfoot said the department could not provide figures for previous years for a comparison because until mid-2015 the information "was not centrally collated".

"Notwithstanding the marginal level of non-compliance (tracker removal) with the conditions associated with EM, the performance results demonstrate that the use of EM is an effective alternative to more costly custodial sentences," the Corrections report stated.

"If it was not for these sentences and bail options, as many as half of those electronically tracked would be on a custodial sentence.

"The use of EM also enables Corrections to work with these offenders in the community where rehabilitation outcomes achieved can be more effective than that which could be achieved if the offender was given a custodial sentence. "

What is electronic monitoring?

Electronic monitoring allows individuals either convicted of a crime and sentenced, released on bail or released from prison under conditions to be tracked in their homes and in the community.

In New Zealand there are two type of EM - radio frequency which sets up an electronic boundary to manage curfew-based sentences such as community detention, and GPS which allows authorities to track offenders' movements in real time.

GPS is used mostly for individuals on home detention or inmates released from prison who are subject to EM conditions as part of their parole or extended supervision order.

Trackers are attached to an offender's ankle on a strap, allowing Corrections to monitor them and ensure they adhere to any set curfew and keep away from any areas specified in their release conditions.

Electronic monitoring is also used for minimum security prisoners who have been granted temporary release from prison to undertake paid work.

What happens when an EM tracker is removed?

If a tracker is tampered with or removed it will set off an alarm at the monitoring centre.

If the offender is considered high risk either police or a field officer will go straight to the address to check on them.

In August last year Corrections tightened its response to tracker tampering.

When monitoring company 3M receive a tamper alert they must take action within 30 seconds.

If police or a field officer need to attend, 3M must notify them within 10 minutes of the alert.

For the highest risk offenders, if a tracker is tampered with, 3M contacts Corrections' specialist GPS Immediate Response Team.

There are about 200 offenders deemed to be highest risk.

The 2015 changes were implemented after child sex offender and kidnapper Daniel Livingstone allegedly cut off his monitoring bracelet and went on the run in Lower Hutt.

A tamper alert was received by 3M but police did not enter the house for seven hours.

Livingstone was deemed a high-risk offender and was subject to an Electronic Supervision Order that dictated he must wear a GPS-tracking ankle bracelet at all times.

Recent breaches

In March, Wairarapa police were seeking Jade Harris who was on home detention on a range of dishonesty and driving offences.

They appealed for information about Harris, saying that on February 29 he appeared in the Masterton District Court on a breach of his home detention "following which he removed his electronic monitoring bracelet and did not return to his address".

In June, Invercargill police appealed for information about Quinton Hamilton. They said he was wanted on charges of escaping custody and had cut off his electronic monitoring bracelet.

During the same month, police in Canterbury revealed they were looking for Michael Raymond Norton.

Warrants to arrest were issued on charges of burglary and the unlawful taking of vehicles. At the time, police said Norton had cut off his electronic monitoring bracelet.

In September last year, Patrick McGreevy was arrested and charged after he allegedly removed his electronic bracelet and went on the run.

He was on the list of highest risk offenders and was on a 10-year extended supervision order under the Parole Act, expiring in 2019.

Police were notified soon afterwards and visited his address but the offender was not there.

Electronic monitoring by the numbers

• Of the 1629 offenders on community detention, 41 removed their trackers

• Of the 1603 offenders on home detention, 171 removed their trackers

• Of the 448 alleged offenders on bail, 19 removed their trackers

• Of the 105 offenders on parole, 11 removed their trackers

• Of the 94 offenders released from prison and subject to extended supervision orders, three removed their trackers

• As at June 30 this year, police were seeking 15 offenders who had removed their trackers and absconded