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MP questions the delay in electronic tagging of criminals

Electronic monitoring of criminals should have already been implemented according to MP Mark Pettingill.

Violent crime is continuing while valuable technology to combat it still hasn't been adopted, the Bermuda Democratic Alliance MP said.

In an impassioned speech made during the Motion to Adjourn in Friday's House of Assembly, the defence lawyer and former prosecutor said businesses were ready to offer the equipment to get the programme running.

“We had overseas people come in to do a demonstration. A company in this Country partnered with the leading technology company in the world. They gave us a free pilot with the Attorney General wearing a bracelet.

“They put on the demonstration for free, and that could have cost them thousands of dollars, and they haven't even had any indication from this Government.

“This makes me really concerned about the tendering process.”

Legislation was passed this summer to allow the electronic tracking of people on bail. The amendments to the Bail Act 2005 received criticism in the House of Assembly because they limited use of the technology to persons charged with firearm offences.

Attorney General Kim Wilson later suggested similar legislation could be put in place to monitor certain sex offenders, with the devices notifying police if they enter a “no-go zone”.

Mr Pettingill has been vocal in promoting the devices which he believes would deter people from breaching bail conditions.

If implemented, the technology could not only deter those on bail from re-offending, but also disrupt gang activity, he told MPs on Friday.

“The number one concern in this Country is violence and antisocial behavior,” he said.

“This technology could have been put in place and could have saved lives. People are being killed. People are having their lives ruined.

“There is probably no other country in the world where a Government can remain in power with these type of crime figures.”

Following Mr Pettingill's speech, Health Minister Zane DeSilva said that because a business gave a free demonstration didn't mean it was working out of kindness.

“As a businessman, when I invest thousands of dollars into something, it's because I want to get something back,” he said.

Photo by Mark Tatem Senator Kim Wilson is fitted with a GPS ankle bracelet for tracking people who have been released on bail, in this file picture from earlier this year.

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Published December 06, 2010 at 1:00 am (Updated December 10, 2010 at 3:30 am)

MP questions the delay in electronic tagging of criminals

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