Hundreds of registered sex offenders in Bedfordshire

Many are placed on the register for life

Friday, 5th November 2021, 12:15 pm

Hundreds of registered sex offenders are living in Bedfordshire, figures show.

Police forces, probation services and other government agencies keep tabs on dangerous criminals in communities across England and Wales using management plans known as multi-agency public protection arrangements.

Ministry of Justice (MoJ) data shows 626 people convicted of sex crimes were being managed under MAPPAs in the Bedfordshire policing area at the end of March.

A National Police Chiefs Council spokesman said the UK has some of the toughest powers in the world to manage violent and sexual offenders

It means there were 107 registered sex offenders for every 100,000 people in the area at that time – a fall from 109 the year before.

MAPPAs allow authorities to assess and manage the risk posed by sexual and violent offenders.

In Bedfordshire, sex offenders made up 65 per cent of those subject to the arrangements in March.

There were also 326 violent offenders and seven other dangerous offenders under MAPPAs in the area at that point.

Across England and Wales, 64,300 registered sex offenders were subject to MAPPAs as of March – 3 per cent more than in March 2020, and the equivalent of 122 in every 100,000 people.

The number has more than doubled since 2006-07, with the upward trend driven mainly by increases in the number of people convicted of sexual offences that are placed on the sex offenders register, many of them for life, the MoJ said.

Plans are specific to each offender but could include conditions such as being regularly monitored, living in approved premises and having to disclose their offending history.

Those on the sex offenders register have notification requirements in place that can include having to tell the police when they intend to travel and where they are staying.

But the figures show that sex offenders were cautioned or convicted more than 1,640 times for breaching notification requirements in 2020-21 – 20 of the breaches were recorded in Bedfordshire.

Jayne Butler, CEO of Rape Crisis England and Wales, said the organisation welcomed any measures taken to hold sexual abusers to account but said MAPPAs were not sufficient in keeping victims and survivors safe nationally.

She said: "The number of those cautioned or convicted for breaches is unacceptable, and the true extent of those breaches is unlikely to be reflected in these figures.

"This is not reassuring for victims and survivors."

MAPPAs can vary in length significantly, with some offenders expected to comply for life and others for less than six months depending on the offence committed and the sentence imposed.

Offenders now have the right to apply to have lifetime MAPPAs revoked and, in 2020-21, more than 400 offenders nationwide were successful in doing so – three in Bedfordshire.

A National Police Chiefs Council spokesman said the UK has some of the toughest powers in the world to manage violent and sexual offenders.

He said personalised risk management plans under MAPPA enabled authorities to more actively manage offenders posing the greatest risk to the public.

A MoJ spokesman said the number of serious further offences committed by those subject to MAPPAs was at an eight-year low, and the figures showed that the arrangements were working.