UK police to track dementia patients using GPS

May 01, 2013, 12:12 PM EDT
A man holds a Global Positioning System (GPS) on January 28, 2012 on a Strazeele's road, northern France, near a speed radar.
AFP/Getty Images/Philippe Huguen

LONDON (AP) — A British police force is hoping to save time and money by giving a few dementia patients GPS tracking devices, a move condemned by some campaigners as "barbaric."

Last week, Sussex police announced a plan to buy GPS devices for 15 people with dementia who are at high risk of getting lost.

The device can be worn around the neck or attached to a keychain. It sends the person's GPS location to a website every four minutes.

Chief Inspector Tanya Jones described it as a "cost-effective" strategy, which would save police time and money by not having to frequently search for lost patients.

The National Pensioners Convention on Wednesday slammed the idea as inhumane and said patients could be stigmatized and made to feel like criminals.