Inside the 24-hour secret bunker watching evil offenders
Inside a top secret Sydney bunker, a crack team is using world-beating technology to track in real-time almost 1000 dangerous ex-cons who are back out on the streets.
Armed with $22 million worth of electronic monitoring equipment, the team can tell when the offenders including killers, paedophiles and convicted terrorists leave the house, get on a bus, go somewhere they shouldn't be, miss the train or are even late for a doctor's appointment.
As The Daily Telegraph was given an exclusive tour of the new NSW Corrective Services electronic monitoring centre today, minister Anthony Roberts said the technology was so precise that it was like each of the offenders having a personal corrections officer walking next to them 24 hours a day.
There is even the capability to know whether the offenders have been abusing drugs and alcohol through sweat that can be tested via the Kevlar-coated ankle bracelet which must be worn in the shower and in bed. That technology has not yet been activated.
"While we are asleep, the staff are here 24/7 monitoring people who could put our lives in danger," Minister for Counter Terrorism and Corrections Mr Roberts said.
"This is an unprecedented investment in technology."
It followed new laws that mandated GPS tracking of serious sex offenders on parole and the increase in the Supreme Court imposing extended supervision orders (ESO) on ex-cons who have finished their sentences but are ruled not safe to be freed into the community without strict monitoring.
As of Tuesday morning at 8.30am there were 949 offenders including those on work release or under domestic violence supervision being monitored. Of those, 127 are on ESOs compared to 56 five years ago.
Across the banks of screens, self-confessed paedophile and the killer of Bondi schoolgirl Samantha Knight, Michael Guider, is kept in check along with sex fiend Brian Alan Bowdidge, who is on his third ESO after continually breaching the conditions.
There is notorious triple murderer Berwyn Rees, who walked on parole last year after nearly 40 years behind bars and has been barred from several areas in Sydney, the Central Coast, Newcastle and Lake Macquarie.
Last week the team helped counter-terrorism police who arrested a man said to have extremist links and was allegedly running a Sydney firearms supply network.
The team helped with historical data on places the man had visited because he was already being monitored.
They are tracked based on the schedule they have to provide to community corrections officers and within parole or court-imposed conditions.
"We know our offenders very well," general manager of the electronic monitoring group, Andrew McClintock, said.
"We know where someone was last Saturday at 2pm."
Corrective Services chief Peter Severin said the close monitoring was also important to help reduce recidivism by making sure the offenders attended work, counselling and Alcoholics Anonymous and Gamblers Anonymous meetings.
If they are seen to be late or even not staying long enough, they cop a call from the prison officers or a call out from the police embedded with the electronic monitoring group. Serious breaches including attempting to remove the bracelet trigger a red alarm.
The new nerve centre is over three times bigger than the area it replaced at Silverwater Jail and there are no longer any monitoring black spots as it uses roaming technology.
The equipment is supplied by Buddi Australia.
Originally published as Inside the 24 hour, secret Sydney bunker watching ex-cons