Attorney-General leads crackdown on sex offenders
THE Attorney-General has continued his campaign against Queensland's most at-risk offenders, with increased penalties regarding GPS tracking devices announced for the state's most dangerous sex offenders.
Under current legislation, offenders released under the Dangerous Prisoners (Sexual Offenders) Act 2003 who attempt to remove or tamper with their electronic tracking bracelets could be charged with wilful damage.
However, Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie has proposed a mandatory jail term of one year, with a maximum penalty of five years' imprisonment for sex offenders caught trying to evade authorities.
Data provided by a Department of Justice and Attorney-General spokesperson revealed the Capricornia District currently played host to three offenders who required GPS monitoring, under the DPSOA.
While there are no offenders in Gladstone who are currently under such supervision, as of November, 2013, the area hosted three known high-risk sexual offenders, out of 53 in total that resided in the Gladstone area.
The GPS technology enables the EMSU to set exclusion zones around high-risk areas.
A Queensland Police Media spokeswoman said that as of December 31, 2013, there were 4744 child sexual offenders recorded on the Queensland Police Service's Child Protection Offender Register,.
But Mr Bleijie said it was only those deemed most menacing to communities that were placed under supervision.
"Only offenders released on supervision orders under the Dangerous Prisoners (Sexual Offenders) Act are fitted with electronic tracking devices," Mr Bleijie said.
Since 2011, five offenders have been charged with removing their devices, devices which provide invaluable protection to local communities as well as giving specialist tracking teams the ability to pinpoint the whereabouts of an offender at any given moment, a Department of Justice and Attorney-General spokesperson said.
"GPS monitoring requires such offenders to be fitted with an ankle device that sends GPS signals in real-time to allow a specialist monitoring team, the Electronic Monitoring Surveillance Unit, to monitor their whereabouts.
"The GPS technology enables the EMSU to set exclusion zones around high-risk areas (such as children's playgrounds for child sex offenders)."
The changes to legislation were a part of a number of alterations announced earlier this week by Mr Bleijie, among them an increased maximum sentence for offences against children with a mental impairment, from 14 years to life imprisonment, as well as increasing the maximum sentence for child exploitation material offences from 5-14 years' jail.
By the numbers
- As of Dec 31, 2013, there were 4744 child sex offenders on the QPS Child Protection Offender Register
- Capricornia District currently hosts three sex offenders requiring GPS monitoring
- Since 2011, five offenders have been charged with removing tracking devices
- Last year in Qld, five instances of offenders unlawfully removing their GPS tracking devices