Outrage over the Scots Sex Criminals on the Run

Daily Mail (London), May 25, 2007 | Go to article overview

Outrage over the Scots Sex Criminals on the Run


Byline: GRAHAM GRANT

Failures in criminal justice system exposed TEN dangerous sex offenders who should be monitored by police are on the loose in Scotland.

The criminals have simply ' disappeared ' into the community without a trace, raising serious fears for public safety.

One of the offenders slipped off the police radar six years ago and has been at large ever since.

The revelations follow the scandal over registered sex offender Peter Tobin, convicted earlier this month of raping and murdering Polish student Angelika Kluk.

A catastrophic failure of the justice system meant he was allowed to stay on the run for a year after disappearing from his home without informing the authorities.

Last night, Scottish Conservative

justice spokesman Bill Aitken said: 'What these alarming figures underline is that legislation designed to protect the public is not working - and that is deeply concerning and requires urgent action from the new Executive.'

Figures obtained by the Scottish Daily Mail show ten sex offenders other than Tobin have flouted the rules designed to protect the public through safeguards such as requiring them to tell police about any change of address.

The Mail used freedom of information legislation to uncover the scandal of the missing sex offenders but, astonishingly, police have refused to provide further details of their crimes or identities.

They say this would constitute 'personal information' and releasing details would breach data protection laws and hinder police chiefs' ability to manage sex offenders.

One force, Tayside Constabulary, was unable to supply any information on the number of outstanding warrants for registered sex offenders who have failed to comply with monitoring regulations, despite a month of research.

The figures increase pressure on First Minister Alex Salmond to ensure those convicted of sex crimes are not allowed to breach the terms of the Sex Offenders' Register and re-offend, as Tobin did.

Earlier this week, Mr Salmond agreed to hold an urgent summit after concerns were raised over 'flaws' in the justice system highlighted by the rape and murder of Miss Kluk.

The figures will also fuel fears that police have been overwhelmed by the task of keeping track of sex offenders, with officers privately admitting it has become a logistical nightmare.

Of the ten outstanding warrants for registered sex offenders north of the Border, the highest number is in the Strathclyde Police area, with seven - including one who vanished in August Lothian and Borders Police has two outstanding sex offender warrants, while Fife Constabulary has one.

Thirty-six warrants were issued last year for sex offenders who breached the terms of the register.

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