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10 March 2015, 06:38
Hundreds of convicted sex offenders have gone missing across the UK, police have revealed.
New figures have shown 396 registered sex offenders are wanted because their whereabouts are unknown, including some who have been missing for more than a decade.
Hertfordshire Constabulary said the whereabouts of two registered sex offenders were unknown. One went missing in January 2014, while the whereabouts of the other offender became unknown last November.
Meanwhile Scotland Yard said the whereabouts of 167 registered sex offenders were unknown. The longest period of time an offender had been missing was 14 years, the force said.
A Metropolitan Police spokeswoman said London has a "diverse multicultural population'' and a large percentage of sex offenders were "either known or believed to be living abroad, having returned to their country of origin''.
Neighbouring Thames Valley Police said the whereabouts of five registered sex offenders were unknown, including four who have been missing for more than a year.
Registered sex offenders - including rapists and paedophiles - are required to inform police and probation officers of their addresses and are supposed to be monitored by officials working under multi-agency public protection arrangements (MAPPA).
Claude Knights, chief executive of the charity Kidscape, which aims to protect children from harm and abuse, said: "We know that sex offenders are at their most volatile and dangerous when they are living in chaotic and unsettled circumstances.
"Registered sex offenders who are of no fixed abode are very difficult to assess and monitor, and most importantly are not complying with notification requirements.
"The safety of our communities depends on predators being on the appropriate radars. We have a duty of care to potential victims.''
A Home Office spokeswoman said: "The UK has some of the toughest powers in the world to deal with sex offenders and we are committed to ensuring the system is as robust as possible.
"It is for the police to manage offenders in their area, but we work closely with forces to ensure legislation is effective and that officers have all the tools they need.''