SIX registered sex offenders in Warwickshire are missing.
Police forces across the UK admitted they had lost track of hundreds of offenders following a Freedom Of Information request. Registered sex offenders – including rapists and paedophiles – are required to inform police and probation officers of their addresses so they can be monitored.
Four sex offenders in Warwickshire disappeared last year, one in 2011 and the whereabouts of one has not been known since 2009. There are currently 351 registered sex offenders in the county.
Warwickshire Protecting Vulnerable People spokesman Supt Steve Eccleston, said: “Any person subject to notification requirements under the Sexual Offences Act are actively managed by police and also partners agencies. The minority of offenders who have failed to comply with notification requirements are actively pursued.
“The number of offenders who have failed to register is very low and ongoing enquiries indicate that some are not in the UK currently.
“All necessary agencies have been informed and safeguards are put in place to ensure that they will be pursued irrespective of their current location. Processes exist to ensure that information is exchange and people are protected abroad as appropriate.”
There are currently more than 4,000 registered sex offenders in the UK. Figures released by 39 forces nation-wide following the FOI request revealed the authorities did not know where 396 offenders were.
In neighbouring West Midlands there were 39 missing – the second highest force total in the country after the Met in London – while Warwickshire’s force partner West Mercia was also missing six offenders. One convicted offender in Gloucestershire has been missing for 15 years.
The NSPCC described the figures as “alarming” as about half of those on the register were offenders who had raped or sexually assaulted children, or had committed offences relating to online child abuse images.
A Home Office spokeswoman said: “The UK has some of the toughest powers in the world to deal with sex offenders and we are committed to ensuring the system is as robust as possible.”
Every force to respond to the FOI refused to name those missing over concerns of vigilante attacks, or because the information was exempt under data protection laws.