Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Report details offender monitoring

Police made up part of the specialist team which managed the risk the offenders posed

Almost 90 violent and sexual offenders were supervised in the community in Northern Ireland last year.

A specialist team of police, probation officers and social workers managed the risk posed and those on the sex offenders' list or guilty of domestic abuse or violence against the vulnerable and the young were monitored. South Belfast had the greatest number of people.

The details were revealed in an annual report on public protection arrangements in Northern Ireland.

"While the number of sexual and certain violent crimes committed, represent a small proportion of the total recorded crime in Northern Ireland, they have a significant impact on the lives of victims and their families and, in many cases, the local communities," the document said.

"It is with this in mind that protecting the public from offenders who carry out these crimes, and meeting the needs of victims, remain high priorities for the police, probation, prison service, housing executive and for all of the other partner agencies who contribute to the arrangements."

According to the report for 2012/13, 87 people were managed under public protection arrangements. South Belfast recorded 20 offenders while most other districts were in single figures.

Sex offenders are required by law to notify police of their name, address and other personal details and to tell officers of changes.

Fewer than 10 who posed the most risk are being managed in the community today.

There are a number of ways to manage the risk posed by sex offenders.

Sexual offences prevention orders (SOPOs) are one of the tools available, and licence conditions can also be applied when individuals are released from prison, but every case is considered individually.

Key objectives for this year include working with the Department of Justice to introduce Violent Offences Prevention Orders.

The report said: "These o rders will provide a much-needed risk management measure and will mirror the Sexual Offences Prevention Orders."

At present risk management plans are specifically tailored to each offender and set out all actions which the agencies will take, or require of the offender, to minimise the risks posed .

"Risk management plans will normally include both enforcement actions to restrict the offender's behaviour and positive encouragement actions designed to help him or her avoid causing serious harm through re-offending," the report said.

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