More Sex Offenders Breaking Notification Rules

1 November 2015, 07:24 | Updated: 1 November 2015, 09:31

The number of sex offenders failing to tell the authorities of their whereabouts has risen dramatically in a year, it has been claimed.

Official figures show that 331 registered sex offenders (RSO) in Scotland were last year reported for ''failing to comply with their notification requirements'', which apply when they are no longer in prison.

The figure is up 82 on the 249 who breached their conditions in the previous year, 2013/14.

The Scottish Conservatives said the ''dramatic increase'' was worrying and called for a review to ''rectify the situation''.

The Scottish Government said the system of monitoring sex offenders is among the most robust anywhere in the world.

Overall, more than 93% of offenders were found to have complied with the notification rules, the statistics show.

The data is contained in a report on the Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) in 2014/15.

It notes that by March 31 this year there were 4,787 registered sex offenders in Scotland, up more than 500 compared with the 4,256 recorded the year before.

The number of RSOs living in the community rose from 3,484 to 3,767 over the same period.

The report states: ''The number of offenders who were reported for failing to comply with their notification requirements under the 2005 Act in 2014/15 was 331, whereas 249 were reported in 2013/14.

''This means that over 93% of offenders complied with the notification requirements.

''The authorities take a zero tolerance approach where an offender fails to comply with the notification requirements as prescribed in the legislation and they will be reported to the procurator fiscal.''

The number of RSOs reconvicted of a crime of violence or a sexual offence last year was 69, up from 48 in 2013/14, the figures show.

Scottish Conservative justice spokeswoman Margaret Mitchell said: ``These statistics make for worrying reading. They reveal a dramatic increase in the breaches of conditions for some of Scotland's most devious, and in many cases dangerous, offenders.

''This coupled with the substantial increase in offenders convicted of further violent and sex crimes should ring alarm bells.

''Clearly an urgent analysis needs to be carried out to establish what has gone wrong here and to rectify the situation.

''Once again, public confidence has been compromised under this majority SNP Government.''

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: ''Scotland's system of monitoring sex offenders is among the most robust anywhere in the world. It involves sharing information between police, councils and other bodies, so that they all work closely together.

''Under the system, all offenders are assessed, and law enforcement agencies are then able to use a range of measures, including surveillance, electronic tagging, curfews and banning offenders from certain areas or from contacting certain people.

''Increased reporting, including prosecution for historic crimes, as well as a rise in the clear-up rate for sexual crimes correspond with the increase in numbers of registered sex offenders.

''Less than 2% of all RSOs in Scotland were reconvicted of further serious crime in 2014/15.

''If any offender managed under the MAPPA commits a further serious crime there is a significant case review process in place which examines the management arrangements for the offender and identifies areas of learning and improvement for future policy and practice. Any breach of notification requirements can lead to a further conviction and appropriate sentence.''