[Note from the editor of this website: How depressing... NOTW's flirtation with online feedback was merely a cheap (and temporary) stunt designed to cash in on the latest series of Big Brother, and there appears to be no plan to expand/extend beyond this. Oh well... this blog almost became surplus to requirements. Let's carry on as before and see what the new editor makes of things.]
322 SEX FIENDS LOOSE
By Guy Basnett
BUNGLING police have lost track of THREE HUNDRED AND TWENTY TWO sex monsters now at large on our streets, a shock News of the World investigation reveals.
British forces supposed to keep tabs on freed offenders from rapists to paedophiles have confessed to us that they have no idea where they are.
Our findings will strike a mixture of fear and fury into parents across the land — and further infuriate Home Secretary John Reid who is already dealing with a series of prison and sentencing scandals.
And when our investigators uncovered the chilling total and asked for details of the missing fiends, police:
- REFUSED to name or reveal any details about them, including how many were paedophiles.
- REFUSED to say how long the sex offenders had been missing.
- INSISTED that giving out details and descriptions of these vile criminals would HINDER attempts to find them.
- DEFENDED the rapists and child sex fiends' human rights — claiming that the information we wanted would put THEIR safety at risk.
This latest law and order disgrace is another nail in the coffin of the discredited government MAPPA agencies supposed to monitor freed offenders—and it further strengthens our campaign for Sarah's Law — the right to know if paedophiles are living near you.
But that depends on police KNOWING where they are in the first place.
Under the Freedom of Information Act, we demanded all 50 forces in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland reveal how many registered sex offenders — ordered to keep police and probation officers informed of their address — had given them the slip.
Their responses — detailed in the table below — will make chilling reading for Mr Reid whose department is already under fire for not bothering to keep details of 27,500 Britons convicted abroad and failing to enforce overseas travel bans on nearly 150 drug traffickers.
Phone call after phone call revealed a catalogue of missing monsters.
London's Met have no idea where 88 of theirs are. West Midlands Police has 25 vanished perverts loose on their beat. The Greater Manchester force admitted to losing 18, Hampshire 11, and Northumbria 10. Only two Welsh forces did not provide a figure — Dyfed Powys and Gwent.
The other forces' refusal to give details of offenders in hiding clashes with a government-backed website which has netted four missing men within weeks by posting information on them.
The Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) site still displays the name of three freed sex attackers at large after failing to inform police of their whereabouts.
And it shows the kind of dangerous perverts out there thanks to slipshod monitoring. The three are Joshua Karney, 29, convicted of indecently assaulting a 14-year-old boy; Colin Taylor, 46, convicted of three indecent assaults on a male over 16 and paedophile Peter Wheatherley, 39, placed on the sex offenders register for indecently assaulting a schoolgirl.
One loophole that makes it easy for sex offenders to disappear are the vague "addresses" they are allowed to register under. Last year it emerged that one paedophile who went missing was allowed to give his address as "woods" after moving from "a tent near Guildford leisure centre".
Shadow Home Secretary David Davis said: "Yet again we see a serious failure of government criminal justice databases to do their job."
Michele Elliott founder and director of Kidscape, which campaigns to protect children from abuse, described our findings as "frightening".
"It's totally unacceptable for registered sex offenders to be missing," she said. "And it's absurd that police don't release details of these people. If any of those offenders harm someone else, it will be on the heads of our police."
When we contacted the embattled Home Office with a list of questions about the missing sex offenders they LOST our email.
A red-faced worker confessed it took them a month to find it after it was forwarded to the wrong office. But when officials did get their hands on it they said they would need another MONTH to reply.
Last year, John Reid hinted that he would take a serious look at introducing Sarah's Law. This latest scandal gives him even more reason to do so. For details of some of the UK's most wanted click here.