West Australians were left in the dark when dozens of offenders, some with serious convictions including dangerous sex offences, were unable to be tracked following a telecommunications outage.
Shadow Minister for Corrective Services Zak Kirkup said it was incomprehensible the Government did not alert the community to the dangers posed by offenders able to roam the community without being able to be tracked.
“If there is a telecommunications outage and offenders cannot be tracked, the community needs to be made aware,” Mr Kirkup said.
“Last night in Parliament it was revealed 81 offenders with trackable ankle bracelets had been disconnected from monitoring as a result of the outage.
“The first the community has heard of this is through questioning in Parliament.
“The question must be asked, why did it take questioning in Parliament for this information to be made public? Why didn’t the Minister bring this to the attention of the public at the height of the risk of these offenders being in public without being able to be monitored.”
Mr Kirkup said the Government needed to assure the public they would not be kept in the dark if there was a similar telecommunications blackout in the future in which offenders were unable to be tracked.
“It is the responsibility of the Minister for Corrective Services to be open and transparent about these very serious and concerning security issues,” Mr Kirkup said.
“He would have received a briefing that the Department had lost track of the offenders as a result of the outage, and he should have insisted on warning the public that this had occurred.
“His failure to do this smacks of a cover up. I am concerned he may not have wanted the public to know that offenders were out in the public and not being tracked.
“This has only come to light through questioning in Parliament and it would not be surprising if the Government was hoping the questions would not be asked and this incident had not come to light.
“It is now incumbent on the Minister to insist his Department develop a communications protocol to alert the public whenever there is an incident in which tracked offenders are unable to have their movements monitored.
“The public needs to be assured they are protected from these offenders. This is the Minister’s responsibility and he needs to take action now that this incident, and the potential for further such incidents, has been exposed.”