New crackdown on sex offenders

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Local police are trialling new ways to protect communities through more effective management of sex offenders.

The Home Office-funded project is a joint initiative between Greater Manchester Police and the Deputy Mayor of Greater Manchester and aims to ensure there is a clear understanding of the problem and more effective ways to prevent and intervene to address the issue.

In Greater Manchester the number of registered sex offenders has doubled from almost 2,000 in 2011 to 4,400 in 2017 both in the community and in custody. The project takes an intelligence led approach to the whole issue of sex offending.

Det Chief Insp Deborah Oakes, responsible for sex offender management in the public protection division, said: “This is a really difficult and sensitive area of policing and understandably can spark strong emotions from people. But it is vital work that is needed to help keep people safe in our communities.

“We can’t keep just dealing reactively with the increasing number of registered sex offenders and need to be able to get more proactive to prevent offending and ensure there is early access to sex offender programmes for those at risk of offending.

“Some of the behaviour we are seeing young people involved in such as ‘sexting’ is leading them towards offending that could mean they end up on the sex offenders register so we have to ensure there is early intervention to stop this happening.

“We need people to be our eyes and ears and to report any concerns they have about people’s behaviour or safeguarding issues. With information we can put preventative measures in early. People can contact police through 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.”

The GMP project includes examining a range of different approaches and interventions that are both overt and covert to manage those at risk of offending. It will identify those individuals at high risk of offending and consider changes in circumstances that may alter the risk assessment. Gathering information and intelligence will then mean managing sex offenders based on those most at risk of re-offending.

It supports the force’s work to ensure resources are being targeted most at the areas of biggest threat, harm and risk to the communities. As part of the changes officers across GMP will be trained to understand sexual offending and how they can help work with communities to prevent it taking place.

The project is backed by experts and academics including Survivors Manchester, Lucy Faithfull Foundation, Manchester Metropolitan University, and UCLAN.