SEX offenders could be tracked via GPS when released back in the community if new government plans are given the go ahead.
With a pilot scheme scheduled to start in April next year, the new measures would see those convicted of sexual offences and crimes against children wearing an ankle tag that would be traced by satellite.
This will then let the police know if the wearer has gone near ‘no-go areas’ such as schools, playgrounds or the addresses of victims.
The details of the proposed tagging system are unknown, but it is understood that it will involve both high and low-risk offenders from across the country who have a mix of prolonged, little or no contact with the authorities.
The move coincides with an internal investigation by the Scottish Liberal Democrats amid concern that a sex offender who befriended a couple with two young children made false claims about his role within the party.
A Motherwell couple warned by North Lanarkshire Council that the individual, who had been in the area over a year and become a close friend, posed a “grave threat” to their children.
This would also mean that criminals such as Da Vinci rapist Robert Greens, who has threatened to carry out repeat attacks, would be under 24hour surveillance.
In 2009 Ryan Yates, another convicted sex offender, was released from prison in Aberdeen and within a week he attacked a pensioner as part of a plan to seize two kids.
According to figures published in 2011 there are 3,100 sex offenders locked up in Scotland with 30 being considered likely to re-offend if they are not closely watched by authorities.
A similar GPS-tracking project was carried out in England in Wales in 2004 but it is understood that no police services nowadays actually use the technology anymore.
Reliability concerns have put the Scottish government off introducing the plans in the past, but officials feel that advances in technology mean that they are now able to put the methods to the test.
This has increased the claims for disclosure on sex offenders living in communities.
At the moment parents, carers or guardians of under-18s can ask the police about details of someone placed on the sex offenders register.
A Scottish government spokeswoman said: “We are in the progress of tendering for a new electronic monitoring contract which will have the capability of providing GPS tagging services.
“The exact ways in which that capability can be utilised are still to be determined. However the new contract will be in place from April 1, 2013.”
John Lamont, the chief whip of the Scottish Conservatives, thinks that it is “shocking” that it has taken the government this long to act.
He said: “We’ve been calling for the use of GPS satellite tracking for sex offenders since 2007.
“While the go-ahead for such a scheme would be a welcome development, it’s shocking it has taken so long for the SNP to recognise the full benefits of using such a robust system.”