What happens to a person whose name is placed on the sex offenders register?
By Lucy Ashton
What happens next when a judge orders the name of a sex offender to be placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register?
The answer is revealed in the annual report of the Social Work director at West Dunbartonshire Council.
The management of high risk offenders is handled by MAPPA, which stands for Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements.
It is the process through which the Police, Probation and Prison Services work together with other agencies to manage the risks posed by violent and sexual offenders living in the community in order to protect the public. These agencies at all times retain their full statutory responsibilities and obligations.
Jackie Wright, pictured left, revealed that 79 offenders were being monitored within the community in the current year, with the vast majority of these being assessed as MAPPA level 1 cases, which are the least serious.
The MAPPA website provides professionals and the public with information on how sexual and violent offenders are managed in the community.
And their message is that the public should be reassured that agencies involved in MAPPA are working to ensure that resources are best directed to protect the public and to reduce re-offending.
Since the establishment of MAPPA in 2007, the focus has been on registered sex offenders and a small number of restricted patients.
With effect from April 2016, the remit of MAPPA extended to other offenders who are assessed as posing an imminent risk of serious harm to the public.
The number of offenders falling into this category is small, but their assessment and management is complex and demanding.
There have been no level 3, the most serious MAPPA cases, in 2017/18 and a just small number of level 2 MAPPA cases.
Performance reports cover key requirements in respect of social care performance.
The Wright report states that the Council view is that these provide in the main a very positive reflection of the quality of social care service delivery within West Dunbartonshire’s Health and Social Care Partnership.
In the United Kingdom, the Violent and Sex Offender Register (ViSOR) is a database of records of those required to register with the police under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (the 2003 Act), those jailed for more than 12 months for violent offences, and those thought to be at risk of offending.
In response to a Freedom of Information request in 2009, for example, Greater Manchester Police reported that of 16 people in their area placed on ViSOR since 2007 on their initiative and not as a result of a relevant conviction, four (25%) had clean criminal records.
The Register can be accessed by the police, National Probation Service, and HM Prison Service personnel. Private companies running prisons are also granted access.
It used to be managed by the National Policing Improvement Agency of the Home Office, but this was replaced by the National Crime Agency on 7 October 2013, as a feature of the Crime and Courts Act 2013, which also formally abolished the NPIA.
Notification periods for offenders sentenced under the 2003 Act are as follows:
- Imprisonment for a fixed period of 30 months or more, imprisonment for an indefinite period, imprisonment for public protection (abolished in 2012), admission to hospital under restriction order, or subject to an Order for Lifelong Restriction: Indefinitely
- Imprisonment for more than 6 months but less than 30 months: 10 years
- Imprisonment for 6 months or less, or admission to hospital without restriction order: 7 years
- Caution: 2 years
- Conditional discharge or (in Scotland) a probation order: Period of discharge or probation
- Any other: 5 years
Finite notification periods are halved if the person is under 18 when convicted or cautioned.
In April 2010 the United Kingdom Supreme Court ruled that indefinite notification requirements contained in section 82(1) of the 2003 Act were a breach of individual human rights as they were disproportionate.
As a result of this, appeals against indefinite inclusion within the register were introduced. Appeals can be made to the local police force by an offender after inclusion on the register for 15 years. If the local police force declines to remove the offender from the register, they may appeal to to the Sheriff Court.