The State Government has revealed that GPS devices are now tracking the movements of 16 sex offenders to monitor their release back into the community.
The sex offenders have been fitted with the devices under court orders as a condition of release.
Corrective Services Minister Joe Francis said the sex offenders were tracked by the 24 hour/seven day monitoring hub of the recently established Electronic Monitoring Unit. The monitoring hub is based at the WA Police Operations Centre at Midland.
Mr Francis said new laws came into effect in February to allow GPS tracking of sex offenders classified under the Dangerous Sex Offenders Act.
The monitoring system went live in May. Thirteen of the offenders now being tracked are in the metropolitan area and three are in regional areas.
“The GPS devices are fitted on the ankle and enable the monitoring unit to locate and track dangerous sex offenders,” the Minister said.
“The technology sends the offender’s location to the monitoring centre and an alarm is activated if the offender enters an exclusion zone or tries to tamper with the device, allowing monitoring staff to alert police if necessary.
“The system will provide better protection to the community through improved responses to breaches of release conditions, such as movement restrictions and exclusion zones.
“GPS monitoring will be reviewed to assess its effectiveness and its potential use on other high-risk criminals such as arsonists and domestic violence offenders.”
Mr Francis revealed that he had worn a GPS tracking device to learn first-hand how the devices work.
“This device is an important measure to protect the community. However, it is important to remember that GPS tracking is not a magic fix, but an additional measure to manage dangerous sex offenders in the community. The devices can show us where an offender is, not what they are doing,” he said.
The Minister said the Dangerous Sex Offenders Act allows for a mandatory 12-month sentence for anyone who unlawfully destroys or damages the monitoring equipment or interferes with its operation.
The offenders are subject to the Dangerous Sexual Offenders Act 2006
In 2012, the State Government announced $6million funding over four years for GPS tracking of DSOs as part of its focus on increasing community safety
Minister’s office - 6552 6500