By Phil Hickey
Dangerous WA sex offenders will face mandatory jail terms if they interfere with their high tech GPS tracking devices under proposed new laws to be introduced to State Parliament today.
The Dangerous Sexual Offenders Amendment Bill 2012 will also make electronic monitoring a compulsory condition as part of a dangerous sex offender’s release.
New state of the art GPS tracking devices will be rolled out as part of the proposed changes.
Corrective Services Minister Murray Cowper said the changes will provide an "additional tool" in the protection of the community from serious and repeat sex offenders.
A dedicated Department of Corrective Services staff member, to be based at the Midland Police Operations Centre, will monitor all sex offenders with the tracking devices 24 hours a day, seven days a week, under the new laws.
Mr Cowper said the changes would work well alongside the online WA sex offender register, which went live this week.
“This is another compliment to that notion that this government is serious about protecting our community,” he said.
“The Bill ensures those offenders can be monitored, in real-time 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
“While that does not mean they are under constant visual surveillance it does mean there is the capacity to know where they are at any given point in time.”
Mr Cowper said the rollout of the new electronic monitoring devices will also apply to the 18 dangerous sex offenders who have already been released into the community and are currently on supervision orders in WA.
He said the State Government had put out a tender for various GPS tracking devices, adding they should not hinder an offender's rehabilitation in any way.
“The devices are somewhat inconspicuous and there is no reason to believe it will cause them any problems,” he said.
Funding to the tune of $6 million has been set aside in the State budget for the proposed changes.