Issues - Sex/ abuse - Number sex offenders rise
The number of registered sex offenders has increased
by nearly 15% over the past year, according to a report published
Home Office statistics showed there were 24,572 sex offenders
in England and Wales on the register at the end of March compared
with 21,413 a year earlier.
The figures also showed 26 offenders being monitored under
the scheme committed serious sexual or violent offences despite
being registered, a fall of 46% from the previous year.
The proportion of registered sex offenders per 100,000 of
population rose from 40 in 2002-03 to 46 in 2003-04, according
to the annual report on multi-agency public protection arrangements
Mappa bring together police, probation, social services and
other agencies to monitor violent and sex offenders in the
community once they are released from jail. Offenders are
given strict licence conditions on release from prison and
can be sent back to jail if they fail to cooperate.
The Home Office has not produced a national report on Mappa
this year. Instead it has published 42 separate regional reports
on the work of local multi-agency public protection panels
(Mappps). A spokesman said the information was primarily intended
to help local communities understand the work of Mappps in
their area. He denied that the lack of an over-arching report
made it more difficult to gauge the effectiveness of Mappa
Detective chief inspector Steve Neale, a senior member of
a Mappp for Thames Valley Police, said the rise in the number
of registered sex offenders was largely due to the success
of internet paedophilia investigations, such as Operation
Det Ch Insp Neale said: "The 15% rise, particularly in
Thames Valley, is down to the success of Operation Ore in
which we prosecuted many people for child pornography offences."
Keeping the serious reoffending rate down to just 1% nationally
was a "wonderful achievement", he added.
Donald Findlater, manager of Stop It Now!, a national helpline
which provides advice to people concerned they pose a risk
to children, agreed that Mappa was improving public safety.
But he criticised the Mapppa reports for failing to provide
information about the types of offences committed, the age
of offenders and the availability of sex offender treatment
programmes. Without this information it was difficult to gauge
how well agencies were dealing with sexual and violent crimes,
The overall number of offenders monitored by Mappa fell by
a quarter last year to 39,492, due to new counting arrangements.
Numbers of highest-risk offenders, subject to the most stringent
conditions, which can include covert surveillance by detectives,
who were referred to local Mappps fell 24% to 2,152 in the
These offenders, dubbed "the critical few" included
registered sex offenders, other sex offenders, violent criminals
and abusers, or those cases which were "exceptional"
because of their sensitivity or notoriety.
The correctional services minister, Paul Goggins ,said: "The
small proportion of offenders that pose the highest risk are
more closely scrutinised than ever by the Mappps.
"Only a very small proportion - this year as low as 1%
- of offenders referred to the panels are charged with serious
West Yorkshire had the highest number of registered sex offenders
- 100,000 people (67), followed by Humberside (66) and the
West Midlands and Nottinghamshire (both 63). The lowest number
per capita was in Hertfordshire (27).