More than 600 sex offenders live in area
THERE are 376 sex offenders living in the community in Bristol, new figures reveal.
The most up-to-date figures released by Avon and Somerset police put the city ninth highest for cities in England and Wales for the number of convicted sex offenders living in the community, with 1,135 sex offenders living across the force area (71 per 100,000 population).
As of June last year, there were 123 in South Gloucestershire, 128 in North Somerset and 78 in Bath and North East Somerset.
London has the most registered sex offenders with 4,651, followed by Birmingham (1,449), Leeds (615), Manchester (523) and Nottingham (426).
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Bristol had the ninth highest number, but more than any other city in the south, outside London.
When someone is convicted of a sexual offence, such as rape or paedophilia, they will more often than not have to sign the Sex Offenders' Register for varying periods of time, depending on the severity of their offending.
The maximum period on the register is life and being on it requires offenders to inform police of their address and to let the authorities know if they move home, otherwise they can be prosecuted again.
The Criminal Justice Act 2003 established multi-agency public protection arrangements in each criminal justice area designed to "protect the public, including previous victims of crime, from serious harm by sexual and violent offenders".
They require the local criminal justice agencies, such as the police, probation service and youth offending teams, and other bodies dealing with offenders, to work together.
The latest figures – which fluctuate regularly – have emerged after a number of Freedom of Information Act requests to constabularies across England and Wales.
There are a total of 41,036 registered sex offenders nationally, but that figure does not include those in jail. The figures change as sex offenders are released from prison but are still on the register, while the terms for offenders in the community expire.
Figures for the other South West forces, including the number of registered sex offenders per 100,000 people, were: Gloucestershire 394 (66); Devon and Cornwall 1,428 (95); Dorset 493 (70) and Wiltshire 389 (61).
Other freedom information requests revealed during the financial year 2011-2012, 231 new offenders in the Avon and Somerset police force area were put on the register, 67 of whom had possessed, downloaded or distributed indecent images of children.