GPS tracking for high risk crims

By Hayden Donnell

Corrections Minister Anne Tolley has announced high risk offenders will be tracked 24/7 via GPS for the first time in New Zealand. Photo / NZ Herald
Corrections Minister Anne Tolley has announced high risk offenders will be tracked 24/7 via GPS for the first time in New Zealand. Photo / NZ Herald

High risk offenders will be fitted with GPS-equipped ankle bracelets so authorities can monitor their movements around the clock, Government has announced.

Corrections Minister Anne Tolley said the ankle bracelets will notify Corrections staff if paroled offenders stray into "exclusion zones" such as parks and schools.

They will be introduced in August, with 11 child sex offenders on parole with special conditions fitted in the initial launch.

That number was planned to rise to up to 90 by the end of the year and up to 200 in 2013.

Corrections has asked the Parole Board to order high profile rapist Stewart Murray Wilson, known as the "Beast of Blenheim", to wear a GPS bracelet following his release from jail in September.

"GPS tracking will be a valuable tool for Corrections and will give peace of mind to communities," Mrs Tolley said.

"We need to stay one step ahead of these people and this proactive approach with more advanced technology allows us to reduce the risks to the public."

Mr Tolley said the bracelet roll out was not spurred by Wilson's impending release.

The technology had undergone a successful trial earlier this year, she said.

"GPS is being rolled out because the technology is now available. If it can help Corrections manage Wilson then all the better."

Electronic monitoring of offenders is already in place, but only works when an offender is in a set location such as their home, Mrs Tolley said.

The GPS system will allow authorities to intervene before offenders commit another crime, she said.

"We must do all we can to keep our communities safe, and GPS tracking is an excellent way to tighten up extended supervision orders, and keep tabs on the small number of offenders who require much closer monitoring."

The GPS system is allowed for under current legislation, Mrs Tolley said.

- Herald Online staff

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