Protecting most vulnerable a priority say police after 35 per cent rise in sex offenders
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The NSPCC says figures of sex offenders population in Avon and Somerset are just the ‘tip of the iceberg’ after new data reveals there has been a 35 per cent increase, over the past five years.
Figures by the Ministry of Justice revealed that 1,676 registered sex offenders were being managed under Multi-Agency Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) in the Avon and Somerset Constabulary area, as of March this year.
That is a rate of 111 offenders in every 100,000 people, which is close to the average for England and Wales.
Over the past five years, the sex offender population in Avon and Somerset has increased by 434, which is 35 per cent.
Children's charity the NSPCC said while the figures were concerning, they were only the tip of the iceberg.
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Its spokeswoman said: "It is encouraging to see more offenders are coming to light and being put on the list of registered sex offenders, particularly as many of these could have committed the most serious sexual offences against children.
"We know from our own research that recorded child sexual offences are at an all-time high and it's crucial that the system is able to cope to ensure offenders are being properly monitored in the community."
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Sex offenders sentenced to at least 30 months in prison remain on the register indefinitely, although some can apply to be removed after 15 years following a change to the law in 2012.
A spokesman from Avon and Somerset Constabulary said awareness of this type of crime has led to an increase of reporting of the offence.
They said: "We're pleased to see the increase in incidents reported, which is down to the increased awareness of this type of crime, an increase in early reporting of offences and an increase in confidence among victims in the criminal justice system.
"The way these types of crimes are recorded has also dramatically improved meaning we're unearthing a more accurate picture.
"Protecting the most vulnerable from harm is a force-wide priority.
"We have specially trained officers who are dedicated to working with victims to make sure they are fully supported."
For free and confidential advice, contact The Bridge on 01173 426999 or www.thebridgecanhelp.org.uk