Dangerous Australian Arsonists To Be Tracked Down During Bushfire Season Under New Laws
CANBERRA, Nov 2 (NNN-AAP) – Convicted arsonists could be electronically tracked, during the bushfire season, under new proposed laws in South Australia (SA). The legislation, which SA Attorney-General, Kyam Maher, detailed ahead of introducing it to Parliament, would give police the power to seek court orders, compelling arsonists, previously found guilty of deliberately starting a bushfire, to wear tracking devices.
Police already keep watch on convicted and suspected arsonists, but Maher said, electronic tracking would boost surveillance of those who pose the greatest risk, through the fire danger season, which officially runs from yesterday through to Apr next year.
“For the first time, once these laws pass, police will be able to apply to electronically monitor, those who have been convicted in the past of setting bushfires,” he told reporters.
“It will be the police who make the assessment about the risk that someone who’s been convicted of this offence will pose, and it will be the court that decides on the evidence presented to them whether to make this order or not.
“If they make such an order, it applies indefinitely for the fire danger season.” More than 180 people were arrested for allegedly lighting bushfires across SA, Queensland, Tasmania, Victoria and New South Wales in 2019.
As of 2017-18, SA Police were tracking more than 200 firebugs through their existing means. Maher said, the new laws would only apply to the most dangerous offenders. “It’s a handful of people each year who face these charges and are sentenced, so the numbers won’t be massive but it will be targeted directly at those who pose the most risk,” he said.
“An offender is at liberty, under the legislation, to apply in the future, to have that order taken off them but, unless that happens, it applies for every fire danger season.”