- Criminals who commit sexual crimes or domestic violence
as well as persistent offenderswill be tracked by "spy in the sky"
satellites in a crime crackdown launched this week.
- Tony Blair will use the announcement to reassure voters
in the run-up to the next election that Labour will protect vulnerable
groups such as children and victims of domestic violence.
- Under the scheme, paedophiles and rapists as well as
habitual burglars will be fitted with special electronic ankle tags and
monitored 24 hours a day. It will apply to persistent criminals released
early from jail under the existing Home Detention Curfew scheme as well
as to offenders given community sentences such as probation orders.
- Paul Goggins, the Home Office minister, will launch the
new measure, dubbed "a prison without walls", in the latest government
attempt to get tough on law and order. A pilot scheme has already been
carried out with satellite tagging in the North-east and this wider trial
is expected to be carried out countrywide.
- The controversial new technology is already used in America
and uses a satellite global positioning system (GPS) to pinpoint the location
of offenders within three metres. It operates along similar lines as GPS
mapping in a car and could be used, for example, to check if a burglar
released on probation was at the scene of a break-in.
- The measures to harness technology in the fight against
crime were outlined by David Blunkett, the Home Secretary, in his five-year
plan to combat crime in which he said there were 5,000 criminals responsible
for one in 10 of all reported crimes. Satellite tracking is a key part
of this plan to cut crime by 15 per cent and would also allow him to combat
the problem of overcrowding in Britain's jails.
- He is also keen to introduce voluntary lie detector tests
for sex offenders to keep track of their contact with children. A pilot
scheme with 33 sex offenders revealed that a third admitted having unsupervised
contact in breach of conditions.
- © 2004 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd