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Issues - Sex/ abuse - Number sex offenders rise

Number of sex offenders registered rises 15%

David Batty and agencies
Wednesday July 28, 2004

The number of registered sex offenders has increased by nearly 15% over the past year, according to a report published today.
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).
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 nationally.
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 Ore.
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, he added.
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 year.
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 further offences."
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).
SOURCE: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,3604,1270953,00.html

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