Police to relax checks on low-risk sex offenders

Updated: 

Hundreds of "low risk" sex offenders in England and Wales will no longer be subject to home visits and frequent assessments.

Police are relaxing checks on those considered to pose the lowest risk and will react only if new intelligence comes to light.

The National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) said the new "tailored approach" to dealing with offenders would allow forces to prioritise those considered high risk.

Michelle Skeer, NPCC lead for management of sexual and violent offenders, said: "The UK has some of the toughest powers in the world to manage registered sex offenders with low levels of reoffending.

"These changes will enable us to more actively manage those offenders who pose the greatest risk to the public while providing a proportionate approach to those who are consistently assessed to be at low risk of reoffending.

"We need to take a tailored approach rather than following a one-size-fits-all model."

Currently very high risk offenders receive monthly visits, high risk have three-monthly checks, medium risk are seen every six months and low risk have annual visits.

Under the new plans, offenders assessed as low risk for at least three years will not receive home visits but still be subject to visit a police station once a year for "notification requirements".

The changes will affect around 16,000 offenders who will be eligible for so-called "reactive management" while the plans will be subject to academic research.

The NPCC said the number of registered sex offenders had grown from 30,416 in 2006/07 to more than 52,000 as of the latest statistics dating from March 2016.

Of these 52,000, 2% are deemed very high risk, 18% high risk, 30% medium risk and the remainder low risk.