Police force announces investment in GPS tracking devices for people with dementia

Posted under Blog on May 2nd, 2013 by Editorial Team / No Comments

A recent announcement by a UK police force that it plans to fit dementia patients with GPS tracking devices has received a mixed response from campaigners.  

Sussex Police last week announced that it had purchased 15 tracking devices, which it believes could reduce the number of missing persons’ searches that often involve significant police resources.
Chief Inspector Tanya Jones described the GPS devices as “cost-effective” and predicted that they would reduce anxiety for families caring for loved ones with dementia. 
But, many campaign groups are firmly against such a move. Neil Duncan-Jordan, national officer of the National Pensioners’ Convention, described the practice as “inhumane”. Sussex councillor Bill Bentley warned such a move could result in a technological solution imposed on people in a way that “they may or may not wish to have happened”. 
The Alzheimer’s Society gave a cautious welcome to the role that GPS tracking could play for a person with dementia, in the right circumstances and with appropriate consent, but emphasised that such a system should not replace good quality care.    
While the Sussex Police announcement has put GPS devices in the spotlight, the reality is that the use of such devices in the treatment of those with dementia has been commonplace for some time. It is estimated that over 100 local authorities across Britain already offer elderly people a range of hand-held or attachable tracking devices as part of a government-backed initiative to increase the use of technology in social care.  

Tags: dementia, GPS, pensioners, police



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