Scottish Government
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Management of sex offenders

Figures for cases of 'missing' sex offenders will be published annually from the autumn, as well as the number of formal police/social work disclosures about offenders in the community, Holyrood's Justice Committee has been told.

Arrangements are now in place to publish this information in forthcoming annual reports of the new Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPAs) - implementing a further two of the recommendations of the cross-party justice sub-committee inquiry into child sex offenders.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has written to the Committee updating MSPs on the progress made towards implementing the 33 recommendations of the justice sub-committee inquiry into child sex offenders, published in December 2006.

He says that of the eight recommendations that remain outstanding, four should be implemented by the autumn - including a public information strategy to raise awareness of offender management and provide advice to parents, children and communities to help them further reduce the risks of exposure to harm.

Mr MacAskill said:

"We've been working closely with criminal justice agencies to provide a strengthened regime for the management of sex offenders in our communities.

"We have been making substantial progress - most of the recommendations having been fully delivered or very near to being in place.

"I have asked the Social Work Inspection Agency, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons and HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary to undertake a joint thematic inspection into the pre- and post-release management of high risk sexual and violent offenders. I expect them to report by the end of this year.

"The last year has also seen a formal police warning/targeted disclosure system introduced for offenders who ignore warnings about their behaviour and a national agreement allowing police to put details of high risk missing child sex offenders, on the CEOP/Crimestoppers 'most wanted' site.

"With these measures and the new MAPPAs now in place, the public must have greater access to information about how they are operating - as well advice about both the risks posed by sex offenders and how these can be minimised and the safety of children and the wider community enhanced.

"I look forward to the publication of the first MAPPA annual reports later this year, as well as the launch of the public information strategy.

"While our focus is on delivering the rest of the recommendations, we remain ever-vigilant and open to considering further reforms, for example, following the report of the joint inspection or following evaluations of initiatives being trialled outwith Scotland.

"As with the work of the cross-party Sub-Committee, on which I served, I hope we can find common cause across Parliament and among the professionals tasked with assessing and managing these individuals, on the best way to proceed in building on the strong foundations to further enhance public safety."

The Management of Offenders etc (Scotland) Act 2005 has placed a statutory function on police, local authorities, and the Scottish Prison Service to establish joint arrangements for assessing the risk from sex offenders - including the effective sharing of information.

The eight MAPPAs across Scotland - one for each Community Justice Authority area (Fife and Forth Valley, Lanarkshire, Northern, South West Scotland, Glasgow, Lothian and Borders, North Strathclyde and Tayside) - formally assumed their responsibilities in April. Each will prepare an annual report, to be published by the autumn.

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