Published 18th December 2014
Due to a recent case of an offender being housed in Barrhead by the council, NEWSLINE decided to make enquiries with Police Scotland regarding the true extent of the issue, namely how many known offenders are living in our area.
NEWSLINE discovered that the East Renfrewshire local authority area is covered by Greater Glasgow (G) Division of Police Scotland. Within G Division there is an Offender Management Unit which presently consists of 29 officers dedicated to managing offenders who are subject to the notification requirements of the Sexual Offences Act 2003.
This information was obtained via FOI.
This equates to approximately one police officer for every 20 registered offenders. If and when the officers leave the office they work in pairs, so that will increase the monitoring number to 40 per team.
Officers work an eight hour day and that then brings into question how much time they can devote to each offender. Certainly no surveillance, as these offender management officers are not trained in that art and that takes a team of at least 12 to undertake surveillance.
What monitoring of these offenders can in reality be undertaken by this team ?
Tom Taylor, Chair of NHW was asked for his comments and he said "One police officer dedicated to every twenty registered offenders in East Renfrewshire might sound a lot but it is not. They cannot possibly provide any positive monitoring of offenders.
Much more has to be done and whilst I would not wish to demonise offenders, they have to be differentiated from other criminals, it is estimated that around 25% go on to re-offend.
The bad news is that sexual predators live in most communities without our knowledge and that needs to change.
Electronic monitoring should be used at all times, and a national s-ex offender registry created that provides a single Web site where residents can find information about registered s-ex offenders.
Offenders seek trusted positions in the community which put them in contact with children, the public are the eyes and ears for the police and they require to know who these people are.
In addition every police officer in East Renfrewshire should be fully aware of every offender resident in their area, name, address, photograph etc.
Live in the community, be part of the community but do not think about re offending?