500 dangerous criminals live in Suffolk

MORE than 500 “dangerous” criminals convicted of serious violence and sex offences are being monitored by authorities while living in Suffolk, a new report reveals.

MORE than 500 “dangerous” criminals convicted of serious violence and sex offences are being monitored by authorities while living in Suffolk, a new report reveals.

Suffolk Probation Service has confirmed the majority of these were living in the community while the rest had either gone back to jail or were about to be released from prison.

However, no high-risk offenders committed a serious offence while their cases were managed, the service said.

It follows an annual report on the county's Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA), which was released this morning.

According to the document, as of March 31 this year there were 516 offenders living in Suffolk managed by MAPPA, of which 393 were registered sex offenders, 109 were violent criminals and other sexual offenders, and 14 were classified as “other”.

But no dangerous criminals committed a serious sexual or violent act while their cases were managed and only 16 high-risk offenders were sent back to prison for breaches of their parole licences between April 2005 and March 2006.

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Of the 393 registered sex offenders in Suffolk, 106 were in the west of the county, 172 in the south and 115 in east.

This is an increase from 368 in the previous year but the number will continue to rise because, due to the length of time offenders remain on the register, there are more people added than taken off it each year.

Only 21 (5.3%) of registered sex offenders were considered to pose a high risk, and none of them committed a serious further offence, according to the report.

MAPPA is a joint agency - run in partnership by Suffolk Probation Service, Suffolk Constabulary, the Prison Service, social care services and mental health partnerships - which manages the county's most dangerous offenders.

Tim Sykes, Suffolk MAPPA manager, said: “The MAPPA have gone from strength to strength and this report demonstrates the close co-operation and developing partnership between criminal justice agencies and the statutory organisations in Suffolk.

“The protection of the public is our highest priority and all staff involved are working hard to ensure the risks posed by offenders under supervision are minimised.

“We are pleased to report that there were no serious further offences committed by offenders managed by MAPPA.

“However, we must not be complacent and ensure that our management of offenders is defensible and will stand scrutiny in the event of serious re-offending.”

MAPPA meetings are held monthly in Ipswich, Lowestoft and Bury St Edmunds to review and assess offender cases and make sure risk management plans are working.

Core representatives from probation, police, social care services and local mental health partnerships take part in each meeting, with other agencies invited when necessary, including the prison service, education, housing and the youth offending service.

At the meetings, the risk each offender poses is assessed and a risk management plan agreed.

The aim of MAPPA meetings is to identify offenders at highest risk of causing serious harm so that resources can be targeted in the most effective and efficient manner.

craig.robinson@eadt.co.uk

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