1,300 sex offenders live in West Mercia policing area
There are more than 1,300 registered sex offenders living in West Mercia Police force’s area, new figures have revealed today.
The number has risen by almost 300 since 2015, according to a Freedom of Information request to the police force.
In March 2015 there were 1,071 sex offenders in West Mercia’s policing area, which increased to 1,147 in 2016, and 1,265 last March. As of last month, there were 1,316 registered sex offenders living in the area.
Detective Superintendent Richard Long, head of vulnerability and safeguarding at the force, said there has been an increase in the number of sex offenders living in the policing area since 2001, which is reflected nationally.
He said: “The monitoring of registered sexual offenders living within the community is based on a multi-agency approach known as MAPPA, which brings a number of agencies together to protect the public and prevent those on the register from reoffending.
“Since MAPPA arrangements were first introduced in 2001, we have seen an increase in the number of registered sexual offenders living within West Mercia policing areas, and this increase is also reflected nationally.
“This is due to an increase in people being convicted of sexual offences, in line with national trends, partly attributed to a rise in offences committed online and an increased willingness of victims to come forward.”
Detective Superintendent Long added that the increase may appear concerning.
But he added: “It is important to note that these figures are not solely unique to our counties. When a registered sex offender is released into the community, they are carefully assessed by a number of agencies and a dedicated plan is put in place.
“West Mercia Police is committed to protecting people from harm, and we continue to work with our partners to ensure all registered sex offenders living within our communities are carefully monitored and are subject to thorough and ongoing risk assessments.
“Our priority is to work together to keep the public safe.”
The sex offenders register contains the details of anyone convicted, cautioned or released from prison for a sexual offence since September 1997.
Offenders who have been handed a prison sentence of 30 months to life are subject to an indefinite term of registration, while those with a sentence of six months to 30 months are subject to 10 years on the register, and a sentence under six months requires registration of up to seven years.
This includes those cautioned or given a community rehabilitation order.
For those under the age of 18, the length of time on the register is usually half that of the adult term.