Dundee sex offenders could be tracked by satellite under new proposals being put to Dundee City Council.
The local authority and local support groups have voiced strong support for plans to tag and monitor convicted sex offenders.
Dundee City Council has rallied behind a Scottish Government initiative to track and monitor the whereabouts of various offenders using GPS satellite technology, after a public consultation revealed massive support for new legislative powers.
A report to city councillors read: “GPS monitoring could play a significant role in public protection for the reasons outlined in the consultation document, such as deterring sex offenders from entering certain places, allowing their pattern of movements to be monitored and saving agency time in excluding suspects from investigations.
“It may also allow for a rapid response in any victim safety planning.”
The Scottish Government began exploring GPS capability in April and, according to Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, the government now has a view to introduce new laws empowering local judges to determine where electronic tagging can be extended. He said: “Electronic monitoring is already an important tool for managing offenders in the community.
“I want to see if there is more we can do to help further improve monitoring of offenders and give greater reassurance to the public.”
Dundee City Council has argued the Government’s primary suggestion to tag any offender serving a custodial sentence of more than four years may not go far enough. The report added: “Supposedly this is an indication of the severity of their offence. So, should some consideration not be made for GPS monitoring for those sentenced to shorter periods where there is an identifiable pattern or escalation?”
Local victim support groups agreed with councillors, saying the government should indeed draft a new law, but that it should be far more stringent.
“We do have a problem with reoffending, which I believe has little to do with rehabilitation and everything to do with management,” explained Joseph Lumbasi, of city support group Izzy’s Promise.
“One of the major issues in abuse cases can be the aftermath, in which survivors are often harassed. So, any increase in the amount of monitoring we do of offenders can only be a good thing.
“Courts already employ tagging on many occasions, but when it comes to the safety of survivors and other members of the community, stricter laws are definitely needed.”
The Scottish Government is expected to introduce new legislative powers later this year.