B.C. city wants high-risk offenders injected with tracking devices
Published Wednesday, February 24, 2016 8:07PM PST
Last Updated Wednesday, February 24, 2016 11:58PM PST
A group of city councillors in the B.C. Interior has voted unanimously in favour of monitoring high-risk offenders by injecting them with tracking devices.
Williams Lake councillor Scott Nelson put forward a motion endorsing the internal GPS surveillance system on Tuesday, arguing it would help ease serious safety concerns among residents.
“Prolific offenders are in every community across British Columbia, and the biggest problem we’ve got in Williams Lake is that they’re putting fear into people,” Nelson told CTV News.
Crime has long been an issue in the city, which has ranked among the top municipalities on Statistics Canada’s Crime Severity Index rankings for years.
Nelson said he and his fellow councilors support the provincial government’s recent decision to use GPS ankle bracelets to track convicts, but they believe more should be done.
“We want to actually ensure that people get injected with a tracking device so they can’t pull it off, they can’t hide it, they can’t mask it,” he said.
“Whether they’re walking downtown, whether they’re having a bath, whether they’re having dinner, we don’t care. We want to know where they are and what they’re doing.”
However, there's confusion over whether the technology being proposed even exists.
"I am not familiar with the particular technology that is being referred to," Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Morris told CTV News, adding that the province is working on a community safety pilot project in the area.
The city is forwarding its motion to the Union of B.C. Municipalities and local Cariboo-Prince George MP Todd Doherty, but civil liberties advocates don’t expect the plan to make it much further.
Michael Vonn, policy director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, said such a law would have to be passed by federal government, and would never stand if it were adopted.
“It’s not constitutional,” Vonn said. “It would be challenged very, very quickly, I can assure you.”
The motive behind the motion might still be worth the public’s attention, she added.
“What we understand is there’s a policing issue, a crime problem in Williams Lake,” Vonn said. “This is not the answer, but to hear out the fact that this level of frustration is being voiced is probably very important.”