By Local Democracy Reporter Katie May Nelson
Some 2,500 registered sex offenders are currently being monitored in Kent.
Figures from Kent Police have revealed the areas in the county where the largest number of sex offenders are being observed. Currently, 2,549 people are the subject of ongoing checks from police; this rose from 2,522 in December 2020.
The highest number were in the Margate and Canterbury areas.
Number of sex offenders actively being monitored by area:
- Margate and Canterbury: 414
- Dover, Ashford and Folkestone: 386
- Medway: 354
- Maidstone: 264
- Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells: 244
- Dartford and Gravesham: 223
- Swale: 196
The Margate and Canterbury Offender Management Unit covers Thanet, Nackington, Sandwich, Herne Bay, Aylesham, Dover, Deal and Whitstable.
Further scrutiny of the data revealed Dover is also covered by the Dover, Ashford and Folkestone Unit.
In disclosing the data, the force said 468 sex offenders are either in custody, hospital, or residing abroad.
Detective Superintendent Kaye Braybrook said: “People can find themselves on the Sex Offenders Register following a conviction for crimes including indecent exposure, downloading indecent images and physical contact with victims including rape.
“There will always be a wide range of factors that could impact on the likelihood of reoffending and as a force it is important that we continue to monitor and risk assess all registered sex offenders after they have been released from custody.
“We work with partner agencies to carry out those risk assessments to reduce the chances of reoffending once prisoners are back out in the community.
“Some will remain on licence for a period of time and that is managed by HM Prison and Probation Service. Restrictions for a child sex offender, for example, may include not being permitted to have contact with children or work with young people. The consequences of breaching conditions can result in prison.
“Officers regularly carry out home visits and assess computer equipment, where appropriate. Offenders will also be asked to visit police stations on occasions as part of their conditions and it is a legal requirement for them to make contact with the force if they move house or plan to go on holiday.
“Failing to do this is a criminal offence that can carry a term of imprisonment.
“In addition, convicted sex offenders can also be subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order, which means on top of their licence conditions, they have to abide by other rules that will restrict their activities.
“Kent Police has specially trained officers who are dedicated to proactively managing and monitoring those who pose a risk to the public.
“They take a robust approach and as a result see low levels of reoffending.”
If someone is in danger or at risk
If a child you know is being abused, find out how to report possible child abuse.
If someone is in immediate danger, call 999.
If you have a hearing or speech impairment, use textphone service 60066.
The Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme (CSODS) lets you formally ask the police whether someone who has contact with a child or children:
- has a record for child sexual (paedophile) offences
- poses a risk to the child or children for some other reason
It’s not a law, but it is sometimes called ‘Sarah’s Law’. It gives guidance on how you can ask Kent Police to use existing police powers to share information about sex offenders.
If you are worried about someone’s behaviour towards a child, or something you’ve seen, heard or been told, you can use Sarah’s Law to find out if that person is a risk.
You must apply for information about a specific person and a specific child they spend time with. You cannot apply for general information about sex offenders.
After an application police will:
- make some checks within 24 hours and if they think a child is in immediate danger they’ll take action right away
- decide if your request falls under Sarah’s Law or not
- get in touch to explain the decision
- carry out a more in-depth interview within 10 days, if they decide to progress the application
- carry out detailed checks and a full assessment of all the information they have
- decide whether there is any information to share with you or anyone else