Number of sex offenders on Shropshire's streets revealed
Hundreds of registered sex offenders are living in Telford and Shrewsbury, the Shropshire Star can reveal today.
The latest figures, which have increased every year for the past five years, were obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.
In 2013/14, there was a total of 161 category one offenders listed on the register living in Telford and 178 free to roam in Shrewsbury.
In the same financial year, West Mercia Police were aware of a total 1,001 registered sex offenders living in Shropshire, Worcestershire and Herefordshire.
These figures have rapidly increased since 2009/10 when there were 258 offenders in Telford and Shrewsbury and 752 in the West Mercia area.
It includes people who have committed crimes from rape and sexual assault to voyeurism and exposure.
West Mercia Police said more victims are reporting sex offences and more detectives have been put in place to monitor those on the register.
This does not include those in jail but does include those who have completed their custodial sentences.
An offender can spend their whole lives on the register if the prison sentence is more than 30 months, and if they don't comply with requirements it is a criminal offence.
The figures were drawn from West Mercia Police records, dated from August 6, 2014.
Where an offender is convicted of a sexual offence they are robustly monitored and managed via multi-agency public protection arrangements.
Police, probation, the prison service and a range of other agencies work in partnership identifying and managing risk.
Superintendent Steve Cullen, head of protecting vulnerable people for West Mercia Police says there has been a rise in victims of sexual offences coming forward, which is vital to "bring the offender to justice".
Due to this increase, the force has decided to invest additional specialist detectives to manage registered sex offenders across West Mercia.
Superintendent Cullen added: "West Mercia Police is committed to protecting our communities from harm.
"Tackling sexual offences and managing the risk posed by dangerous offenders is a clear priority.
"We recognise that for a range of different reasons sexual offences are under-reported.
"We are therefore encouraged by the heightened public awareness and the rise in victims coming forward to report sexual offences to police and partner agencies.
"This allows the police to arrive at the right outcome for the victim and bring the offender to justice.
"Clearly the rise in reported sexual offences has led to a rise in the number of registered sex offenders.
"Should a registered sexual offender commit a further offence while been managed, interventions are put in place and each of the agencies will routinely review their practices to minimise the risk in the future."
The child sex offender disclosure scheme allows parents, carers and guardians to formally ask the police to tell them if someone has a record for child sexual offences.
The aim of this scheme is to keep children safer.
Registered sex offenders living in West Mercia will be generally informed about the scheme.
Individual offenders may be told if information relating to them is going to be disclosed and who it will be disclosed to.
Shrewsbury parent Abdul Husen, 35, of Castlefields, said he encouraged his 13-year-old daughter to take self-defence classes to stay safe in the community.
He said: "It is a shocking number of people to be on the sex offenders register in our area.
"It is a lot higher than any parent would ever imagine. It's a very scary world out there."