New figures reveal huge rise in sex offenders living in the community

Sex crime reports to police have increased in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal and several other high-profile investigations.
Sex crime reports to police have increased in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal and several other high-profile investigations.

The number of registered sex offenders living in the community has jumped by more than 12,000 in four years, official figures show.

Rapists and paedophiles were among 58,637 individuals being supervised by authorities in England and Wales at the end of March.

The figure has increased by more than a quarter (27%) since the same point in 2014, when it stood at 46,102, while it was up by 3,401, or 6%, year on year.

It means there are now 114 registered sexual offenders per 100,000 of the population aged 10 and over. A decade ago, the figure was 66 per 100,000.

The figures reflect a general rise in the numbers of sex crime cases being dealt with by the criminal justice system in recent years.

Reports to police have increased in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal and several high-profile investigations, while more prisoners are serving custodial sentences for sex crimes than at any time since at least 2002.

The number of registered sex offenders has usually increased by about 3,000 annually in recent years, according to a Ministry of Justice report published on Thursday.

It said the increase is influenced by sentencing trends and noted that many sex offenders have to register for long periods of time.

"This has a cumulative effect on the total number of offenders required to register at any one time," the paper said.

The latest statistics are detailed in a report on Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (Mappa).

This is the system used to assess and manage the risk posed by eligible sexual and violent criminals living in the community.

In March, 80,983 offenders were subject to Mappa, with sex offenders accounting for nearly three-quarters (72%) of the tally.

Violent criminals made up 22,056, or 27%, of the total number, while a further 290 were in a third category covering "other dangerous offenders".

The MoJ also disclosed that 242 Mappa-eligible offenders were charged with a serious further alleged crime in 2017/18, an increase of 25 compared with the previous year.