HAMPSHIRE is home to more than 2,000 sex offenders as data reveals the county has the sixth highest number of offenders in England and Wales.

Police, probation services and other government agencies keep tabs on dangerous criminals living in communities using management plans known as Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements.

The latest figures released by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) show there were 2,143 registered sex offenders living in the Hampshire police force area at the end of March 2020.

That is a rate of 121 offenders for every 100,000 people, which is slightly higher than the average for England and Wales, of 119.

Compared to March 2019, the number of sex offenders living in Hampshire has risen by 1.6 per cent with 2,109 living in the area last year.

Over the past decade there has been a rise of almost 53 per cent since the police force figures were first published at the end of 2010/11.

Back then there were 1,403 registered sex offenders living in the county - making this year's figure a record high.

Basingstoke Gazette:

The vast majority of sex offenders in Hampshire are classed as ‘level one offenders’, which means police and other agencies share information about them, but no special measures are required.

But 67 offender were placed in the ‘level two’ category during 2019-20, meaning agencies have to hold regular meetings to discuss them.

 Only two were deemed to be a ‘level three’, these offenders pose such a big risk that additional resources such as specialised accommodation may be needed to manage them.

Registered sex offenders have to tell police of any changes to their circumstances, such as their address, foreign travel plans, and potential contact with children.

In Hampshire, 218 offenders were cautioned or convicted for failing to do so last year.

The figures also show that 493 violent offenders – those who have committed crimes such as murder, kidnapping and grievous bodily harm – were living in Hampshire in March.

Across England and Wales, there were 62,435 registered sex offenders being monitored by police up until March 31, 2020.

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.

Here is how you can find out if there is someone who has signed the Sex Offenders’ Register in your area.

What is Sarah's Law?

Basingstoke Gazette:

The child sex offender disclosure scheme in England and Wales (also sometimes known as “Sarah’s Law”), allows anyone to ask the police if someone with access to a child has a record for child sexual offences.

Police will reveal details confidentially to the person most able to protect the child (usually parents, carers or guardians) if they think it is in the child’s interests.

Who goes on the Sex Offenders' Register?

What constitutes "sex offender" doesn’t necessarily mean "paedophile".

A wide variety of people are placed on the Sex Offenders' Register every year, after receiving a caution or being convicted of an offence. There are a range of crimes that can be considered as sexual offences, including non-consensual crimes such as rape or sexual assault, crimes against children including child sexual abuse or grooming, and crimes that exploit others for a sexual purpose, whether in person or online.

Crimes can occur between strangers, friends, acquaintances, current or ex-partners, or family members. 

Sex offenders are on the Sex Offenders' Register for differing lengths of time, depending on the type of offence:

•             A jail term of 30 months to life = remain on the register indefinitely

•             A jail term of 6 to 30 months = registration for 10 years

•             A sentence of less than 6 months = on the register for seven years

•             A community order sentence = on the register for five years

•             A caution issued = on the register for two years

With the exception of prison sentences of 30 months or more, minors (offenders under the age of 18) will have their registration period halved.

How do I access the information?

Important: If you feel a child is in immediate danger, you should call 999 straight away.

In all other circumstances that are not an emergency, you can request information relating to a child that you are in a position to protect or safeguard by calling 101 or visit your local police station.

Alternatively you can go to a police station and ask them for a ‘Child Sex Offenders Disclosure Scheme Form’ (Sarah’s Law), or Form 284.

If police checks show the individual has a record for child sexual offences, or other offences that might put the child at risk, the police will consider sharing this information.

You should know that disclosure is not guaranteed - the police will only consider telling the person best placed to protect the child – usually a parent, carer or guardian – if the person being checked has a record of child sexual offences or other offences that indicate they may pose a risk to a child.

The police will disclose information only if it is lawful, necessary and proportionate to do so in the interests of protecting the child, or children, from harm.

For more advice and information on protecting children from abuse, visit the Parents Protect website

But you should know that even if they do release the information, parents and carers must keep the information confidential and only use it to keep their child safe.

Legal action may be taken if confidentiality is breached.