Most sex offenders asking to be removed from UK register have request granted
By PA Reporters
Most sex offenders who apply to be taken off the official list are being allowed to by police, figures have shown.
Nearly three quarters of applications from criminals in England and Wales are being approved, according to The Daily Mail.
A Freedom of Information (FoI) by the newspaper, in figures from 36 out of 43 police forces, found that only 363 of 1,288 applications by offenders had been refused in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
But Chief Constable Michelle Skeer, of the National Police Chiefs' Council, said the data represents a small number of registered sex offenders managed in the community.
According to the Daily Mail, one force had a near 100% approval rate, with only one of the 39 applications made to Merseyside Police refused.
In response to the newspaper, the force said applications were most likely to come from those who had been fully compliant with their registration requirements.
When a person is convicted or cautioned in relation to a sexual offence, they are added to the sex offenders register, which requires them to notify police of their name, date of birth and home address.
Offenders must also notify officers of any intended travel and, at least once a year, confirm that their details are still correct by visiting a police station.
When considering an application for removal from the list, officers look at a number of factors, including the seriousness of the offence, how long ago it was committed, the difference in age between the perpetrator and victim and any subsequent convictions.
According to the Home Office, in 2018/19 there were 330 successful applications to be removed from the sex offenders' register.
Ms Skeer, lead for the management of sexual offenders and violent offenders, said: "Managing the potential risk posed by registered sexual offenders within the community is a complex area of work for police.
"As of March 2019 there were 60,294 registered sexual offenders managed in the community.
"The numbers obtained through the Freedom of Information request represent less than two per cent of that total being removed from their notification requirements.
"Applications for registered sexual offenders to be removed from their notification requirements are the subject of careful scrutiny by police.
"Each application is thoroughly assessed and decided upon by a senior officer of Detective Superintendent rank working to the Home Office's legislative framework and guidance.
"UK policing has some of the most advanced and stringent tools in the world to manage registered sex offenders and I am confident that forces across the country are, each day, effectively managing risk posed to the public by such individuals."
A Home Office spokeswoman said: "The UK has some of the toughest powers in the world to deal with sex offenders and the Government is committed to keeping the public safe.
"The Government is committed to making sure violent and sexual offenders spend longer behind bars, which is why it is recruiting 20,000 more police offices and creating extra prison places.
"The Home Office has provided guidance to police forces to bolster the expertise of senior police officers, who decide whether someone is suitable to be removed from the sex offenders' register."