EIGHT sex offenders in Essex are currently ‘missing’ it has been revealed.
A Freedom of Information request asked Essex Police to confirm how many sex offenders had been registered as missing.
The response shows that as of May 2021 there were eight offenders whose whereabouts were not known.
The data also revealed as of December 2019 there were 1,607 sex offenders based in the community.
This had risen by 129 by the end of December 2020 to 1,736 offenders.
Police did not count those in custody in its statistics.
Essex Police said there are currently 16 officers allocated to the management of Registered Sex Offenders.
Questions asking for detail on sex offenders who have notified the force of a name change and sex offenders who have notified the force they are travelling abroad were not answered.
This was because Essex Police were unable to accurately extract the level of detail in relation to the request.
Sex offenders sentenced to at least 30 months in prison remain on the register indefinitely – although some can apply to be removed after 15 years, following a change to the law in 2012.
Statistics last year showed the vast majority in Essex are classed as level one offenders, which means police and other agencies share information about them, but no special measures are required.
Read more >> Hundreds of sex offenders living in Essex – how to see if you live near one
But offenders in Essex were placed in the level two category six times during 2019-20, meaning agencies have to hold regular meetings to discuss them, while three were deemed to be level three, the most serious kind.
These offenders pose such a big risk that additional resources such as specialised accommodation may be needed to manage them.
Registered sex offenders have to tell police of any changes to their circumstances, such as their address, foreign travel plans, and potential contact with children.
What is Sarah’s Law?
The child sex offender disclosure scheme in England and Wales (also sometimes known as “Sarah’s Law”), allows anyone to ask the police if someone with access to a child has a record for child sexual offences.
Police will reveal details confidentially to the person most able to protect the child (usually parents, carers or guardians) if they think it is in the child’s interests.
What is the background to the scheme?
The law was developed in consultation with Sara Payne, whose eight-year-old daughter Sarah was murdered by a convicted paedophile.
Sarah, who lived in Hersham, Surrey, disappeared on the evening of July 1, 2000 from a cornfield near the home of her paternal grandparents in Kingston Gorse, West Sussex.
A body was found on July 17, 2000 in a field near Pulborough, some 15 miles from Kingston Gorse where she had disappeared. It was confirmed as Sarah.
Roy Whiting was convicted of the abduction and murder of Sarah on December 12, 2001 and sentenced to life imprisonment.
After he was convicted, it was revealed that Whiting had previously abducted and sexually assaulted an eight-year-old girl and had served four years in prison for that crime.
Ms Payne campaigned to bring in a law which allows every parent in the country to know if dangerous offenders are living in their area.
How many requests have been made in Essex?
Essex Police publishes how many requests there have been alongside how many have resulted in information being supplied.
Who goes on the Sex Offenders’ Register?
What constitutes “sex offender” doesn’t necessarily mean “paedophile”.
A wide variety of people are placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register every year, after receiving a caution or being convicted of an offence.
This could be, for example, a man who received a caution for having smacked a girl on the buttocks while she was passing him on the street, a 22-year-old female teacher who had sexual intercourse with her 15-year-old student, or at the very serious end of the scale, someone like Roy Whiting, who killed Sarah Payne.
Similarly, sex offenders are on the Sex Offenders’ Register for differing lengths of time, depending on the type of offence:
A jail term of 30 months to life = remain on the register indefinitely
A jail term of 6 to 30 months = registration for 10 years
A sentence of less than 6 months = on the register for seven years
A community order sentence = on the register for five years
A caution issued = on the register for two years
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