London

Dangerous psychiatric patients tracked with GPS

GPS tracker
Image caption GPS is already widely used for road naviagation

Potentially dangerous psychiatric patients are being fitted with GPS tracking devices to prevent them absconding on day leave.

The South London and Maudsley NHS Trust has attached the £600 ankle devices on more than 60 medium and high risk patients under the pilot scheme.

The trust said it had consulted patients and families.

The devices, which can track a person's location to within a few yards, are already used for dementia sufferers.

They came into use in south London after rapist Terence O'Keefe, 39, escaped from custody at King's College Hospital before strangling 73-year-old David Kemp.

A spokesman for the trust said: "We have a duty to provide high-quality patient care while at the same time promoting public safety.

"Our medium secure services provide hospital treatment for people with severe mental health problems - many of whom have restrictions placed upon them by the courts.

"We are currently exploring the use of a tracking system to help us provide safe, secure and effective services."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites