David Ford relaxes monitoring of sex offenders deemed low risk
Monitoring arrangements for sex offenders who left prison in Northern Ireland 15 years ago and no longer pose a risk to the public are to be relaxed.
The sex offenders' register requires those convicted to indefinitely notify police of their personal information and any changes. However, a new review mechanism is being introduced allowing some people to apply to have the requirement reviewed, Justice Minister David Ford said.
"Public protection is a necessary role for the justice system, but I am conscious of the importance of directing resources to where the risk is greatest," he added.
"Attention should be focused on those who continue to pose a risk of sexual harm to the public.
"Sex offenders who pose a risk to the public will continue to be subject to notification. No sex offender will be discharged from his requirements to notify if the police believe he continues to pose a risk which requires notification," said Mr Ford.
The review mechanism will allow offenders subject to indefinite notification requirements for at least 15 years since leaving prison, or eight in cases of those aged under 18 when convicted, to apply to police for review and potential dropping of the obligation. Similar mechanisms have been introduced in Britain.
Mr Ford said the review process "will only be available to a limited number of offenders".