Fifteen missing sex offenders in Suffolk and Essex
Fifteen convicted sex offenders have gone missing in Suffolk and Essex, police have revealed.
Suffolk Constabulary said five registered sex offenders were classed as “wanted” because their whereabouts were unknown.
Four of these have been missing for more than a year, according to the research, which was unveiled by police under Freedom of Information laws.
Their names and the offences they committed were not revealed by police.
But Detective Inspector David Green, of Suffolk Constabulary, said none of the missing sex offenders posed a “high or very high risk” to the public, saying they are believed to be out of the country.
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In Essex, meanwhile, a total of 10 sex offenders are missing. At least seven have been missing for more than a year.
Registered sex offenders – including rapists and paedophiles – are required to inform police and probation officers of their addresses and are supposed to be monitored by officials working under Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA).
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According to the latest police figures, the number of registered sex offenders in Suffolk stood at 588 on April 1, 2014.
Fiona Ellis, operations director at Survivors in Transition, an Ipswich support centre for male and female adults who experienced sexual abuse in their childhood, said: “From a survivors’ perspective, this could be terrifying if the missing perpetrator was responsible for the abuse they suffered as a child.
“It is worrying but we have to keep it in perspective. It is only 1% of the sex offenders registered in Suffolk… but I think every sex offender poses some sort of threat to society, even if that risk is increasing the anxiety to their victims.”
She added: “I don’t think that offenders should just be allowed to live in another country and probably carry on offending.
“We have seen recently with Gary Glitter being brought back here because he was offending elsewhere in the world. It is relatively easy for sex offenders to leave the country and I think it should be more difficult. There should be passport control or immigration control. There should be tighter controls in place.”
When asked if the missing sex offenders should be named, amid concerns over their human rights being breached, she said their victims’ human rights have been “severely” infringed, adding they have been “handed longer sentences”.
Det Insp Green said: “Police work closely with many partner agencies that include the probation service, the prison service and other relevant agencies to manage those on the sex offenders register. All are managed under local Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) with the intention to reduce the risk they pose and increase public safety
“Sex offenders are managed as level 1 MAPPA offenders and some are managed at a higher level. This is determined by many factors and risk assessment. None of the persons currently wanted are high or very high risk.
“Suffolk has five cases outstanding of offenders who are wanted. Officers have made extensive enquiries to locate them and they are believed to be out of the country. On-going police checks and liaison with the border agencies exist and all are circulated on the Police National Computer (PNC).
“The protection of the public remains our highest priority. Suffolk Constabulary has a dedicated team who monitor, risk assess and enforce the law to all who are on the Sex Offender’s Register.
“Management includes un-announced visits, ensuring all notifications are kept up-to-date, acting on any information received from the public and partner agencies and enforcement of the law if the conditions that a particular offender has are broken.
“While the reality is that the risks posed by some offenders can never be completely eliminated, we continue to do all in our power to keep them to a minimum.
“The UK has some of the toughest powers in the world to deal with sex offenders and we are committed to ensuring that the system is as robust as it can be.”
An Essex Police spokesman said: “Essex Police has a dedicated team of officers whose role is to manage people who are registered sex offenders, living in the community after being released from prison.
“We cannot go into the specifics of their roles due to operational reasons.
“However the public can be reassured that the measures put in place aim to prevent them from reoffending.
“People can be placed on the registered sex offenders list for a variety of reasons, ranging from the viewing of images to serious sexual assaults.
“There are currently 10 registered offenders in the county whose whereabouts are unknown.
“Of those 10, our enquiries indicate that eight of them are overseas in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
“The remaining two have been missing for more than two years and on-going investigations suggest that they are not in Essex or in fact the UK.
“We are not complacent about the 10 that are missing and will continue to take steps to locate these people using proactive intelligence led policing, working in partnership with other agencies.
“All of these offenders have been convicted and served the sentence for their original offence- the offence that they are now wanted for is in relation to failing to comply with their notification order.
“Since 2010, the team have successfully dealt with more than 300 breaches of notification orders.”
A Home Office spokeswoman said: “The UK has some of the toughest powers in the world to deal with sex offenders and we are committed to ensuring the system is as robust as possible.
“It is for the police to manage offenders in their area, but we work closely with forces to ensure legislation is effective and that officers have all the tools they need.”