Belfast Telegraph

Rise in breaches of court orders

Dangerous offenders were reported for breaching the terms of their release more than 60 times in Northern Ireland last year.

Sex attackers categorised at mid to high risk of committing further offences were suspected of breaking the conditions of court-imposed sexual prevention orders on 19 occasions. An additional 43 suspected breaches of probation terms were committed by violent category two and three offenders.

The 62 total reported breaches compares with 35 failures to comply to terms among all managed offenders in the previous year.

There are currently about 1,400 sexual or violent offenders, or individuals otherwise considered dangerous, being managed by Public Protection Arrangements Northern Ireland (PPANI), according to figures released in its annual report.

The police and probation board are among the statutory agencies which work together within the PPANI framework to manage offenders.

The report recorded 62 incidents when proceedings were initiated over suspected breaches of Sexual Offences Prevention Orders (SOPO) or prison release licence terms.

Between April last year and March this year there were 24 offenders - 18 categorised as sexual and six violent - that required specialist management by Local Area Public Protection Panels (LAPPP).

At the launch of the report, PSNI superintendent Alister Wallace explained the developments in framework over the last year.

He said: "The report highlights recent developments including the fact that from April 2010, convictions for domestic violence offences can result in risk management within PPANI arrangements.

"A social worker was appointed to the joint public protection team (PPT) in January 2011 and a memorandum of co-operation was agreed with faith and worship groups to ensure better co-operation and information sharing about sex offenders. These developments increase our ability to protect the public and more effectively manage offenders."

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