Australia: GPS tracking of pedophiles launched after successful Courier-Mail campaign

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The first step in around-the-clock monitoring of pedophiles will be taken today, with five of the state’s most dangerous sex offenders to be fitted with GPS tracking devices.

A total of 67 individuals living in transitional housing at Wacol will be fitted with the new devices.

The introduction of GPS trackers followed a community campaign in which more than 10,000 Queenslanders signed a Courier-Mail petition calling for the State Government to roll out the technology as soon as possible.Corrective Services Minister Neil Roberts announced the State Government would spend $13.7 million over four years to introduce the new GPS systems.

The Courier-Mail revealed in May there were 152 breaches of monitoring conditions by 53 pedophiles released from custody, including one who tried to abduct a boy from a skate park.

It also revealed electronic monitoring under-performed when it came to supervising sex offenders and their physical movements away from home or after hours.

Mr Roberts said the GPS technology would enhance existing radio-based monitoring systems but would not replace the vigilance of staff in the field.

Abakus Elmotech won the contract to supply the trackers earlier this month, following a successful trial of the devices by 30 staff from the Department of Corrective Services in August.

Tagged volunteers went to the beach, the gym, up mountain ranges and through tunnels as part of the week-long trial of the technology.

Under the scheme, a total of 67 “high-risk” offenders convicted under the Dangerous Prisoners (Sexual Offenders) Act will be fitted-out with GPS trackers.

One will be serial pedophile Raymond Yeo, 66, who was released in July, and has a criminal history dating back to when he was 13.

Douglas Brian Jackway, 32, who was jailed for raping a nine-year-old girl in 1995 and is due to be released from the Brisbane Correctional Centre at Wacol in February, is also expected to be fitted with a GPS tracker upon his release into transitional accommodation.

Mr Roberts said he expected all 67 serious sex offenders would be fitted with the GPS trackers by early 2012.

“All sex offenders fitted with GPS will be tracked on a 24/7 basis, with a specialist surveillance team working around the clock to monitor their movements,” he said.

Several high-profile Queenslanders, such as Olympian Susie O’Neill, hairdressing icon Stefan Ackerie, rugby league legend Darren Lockyer and child rape victim Sharon Tomlinson, added weight to The Courier-Mail campaign.

Source: Courier Mail