Prostitutes test GPS tracking system

Following the murders of five sex workers in Suffolk, a new system designed to alert police if a prostitute is in danger is being tested.

Jan 25, 2007
By David Howell
Detective Chief Superintendent Jon McAdam

Following the murders of five sex workers in Suffolk, a new system designed to alert police if a prostitute is in danger is being tested.

The Streetwork Guardian Angel alarms are using the existing mobile phone mast network and can locate anyone carrying a locator up to 20 metres away. Once the system is more widely available it will switch to using the GPS system. When GPS becomes available tracking will reduce to a distance of just two metres.

It is estimated that 60 prostitutes have been murdered over the last ten years with only 16 convictions.

Strathclyde have reported 100 attacks in the city over the last two years alone. However, the number of attacks could be as much as ten times higher due to the lack of reporting of each incident.

Edinburgh-based Streetwork UK in association with BTS a telecommunications company have partnered to develop the system.

Tam Hendry, director of Streetwork UK, said: “We think this will help make them safer. As far as I know there is nothing like it in the world for prostitutes. I had been thinking about this for a while but the Suffolk murder inquiry has really brought it to a head.

“It’s something that simply cannot wait any longer.”

The locating devices can also help police to locate anyone that goes missing as the device can potentially lead officers to the relevant CCTV cameras at the scene of the abduction.

Inspector Ben Cook, a community safety officer at Suffolk, told The Scotsman: “We have been made aware of the device and are looking at it, along with a number of other strategies to improve the safety of women who continue to work in prostitution.”

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