We’re monitoring sex offenders: top cop

Kate Fielding and Gabrielle KnowlesSouth Western Times
Police Commissioner Chris Dawson.
Camera IconPolice Commissioner Chris Dawson. Credit: Daniel Wilkins

The State’s top cop says police “actively and proactively monitor” sex offenders in the community following backlash over a registered child sex offender being released on bail in Bunbury.

The South Western Times last week revealed a man, who was arrested during school hours at Bunbury Primary School on February 13, was granted bail with conditions he must reside at a location which is within 400m of two other schools.

The 55-year-old man, who cannot be named for legal reasons and who police say has no fixed address, had been staying at the Admiral Motel Bunbury which backs on to the school’s oval.

In Bunbury Magistrates Court last week, the man successfully requested bail saying he had somewhere to stay on Forrest Avenue in Bunbury.

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The Times revealed that location was close to South Bunbury and St Mary’s Catholic primary schools.

Parents and nearby residents took to social media to air their concerns over the decision, with many asking how it could happen.

Police commissioner Chris Dawson said while he could not comment specifically on the incident as it was going through the courts, the fact a man was released on bail to a home near primary schools was a matter for magistrates.

“They’re matters that magistrates have to consider when weighing up bail conditions,” he said.

“It is the case that at times persons are remanded in custody and in many cases persons are released back into the community with strict bail conditions.

“Certainly if police have a concern, that’s a role for police to put back before the prosecution.”

He said there were laws governing reportable offenders and the sex offender management squad regularly monitored a whole number of reportable offenders.

“One of the roles our sex offender management squad routinely and very well perform is regularly monitoring the movement and activities of reportable sex offenders,” he said.

“There is a register, I’m not going to go into the details of the register, but the responsibility doesn’t just rest with police.

“Persons on such registers actually have a duty and obligation themselves to report to police.

“What we do, is we receive reports from reportable offenders and we actively and proactively monitor such persons ourselves.

“They may not know how or when we will be infrequently and irregularly monitoring outside of the normal reporting requirements.”

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