Police remove names of 40 perverts from Northern Ireland sex offenders’ register
The PSNI has removed the names of almost 40 perverts from the sex offenders’ register in the past two years, it can be revealed.
All were supposed to remain on the database for life, allowing authorities to monitor their movements.
But following a human rights ruling, the law was changed in 2014, enabling child abusers and rapists to hide their past by having their details scrubbed.
They were not slow to use the landmark decision, with many victims left in the dark about the change.
Following a freedom of information application, Sunday Life can disclose that in the two years to March, 53 ‘review applications’ were made.
Senior PSNI officers agreed that 39 of the names were eligible to be struck off the register because they “no longer posed a risk to the public”.
It means these people do not have to notify police of their movements and can travel abroad freely.
The offenders, who can only use the review process more than a decade after being released from prison, cannot be named on the grounds it would breach their human rights and because of data protection rules.
And there is no onus on police to inform victims in any of the cases.
East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell attacked the move. “It is extremely worrying for victims to not know whether the abuser has been removed from the register,” he said.
“(There is also) the fear that the abuser could be in the victim’s locality, or perhaps near play-parks or schools.
“The rights of the victims of sexual offenders must be protected in society, especially from something as vile as sexual abuse and paedophilia.”
Claude Knights, of children’s charity KIDSCAPE, which has protection programmes taught across the UK, said the number of abusers removed from the register “seemed high”.
She stressed: “The least (victims) could expect is to be informed of their abusers’ change of status. (Not doing so) leaves them without the protection offered by the monitoring and notification arrangements.
“It seems reasonable to state that the rights of offenders have been given more consideration than those of the victims whose lives that they have blighted.”
An NSPCA spokesperson added: “The potential impact on victims should be at the heart of any decision to remove anyone from the sex offenders’ register.”
In response, police pointed to a Department of Justice website which states that while guidance does not place an onus on officers to inform people of a change, it does indicate that “where appropriate” consideration should be given to victims.