Cheshire is home to more than 1,000 sex offenders.
Figures obtained by The Chester Chronicle under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that a total of 1,413 men and women who have committed sex offences against children and adults were registered in the county as of January 4 this year – but of that total 1,083 are actually living in the community, the rest are serving time behind bars.
There are 137 sex offenders living in the area policed by Chester Local Policing Unit, 93 residing in that of the Ellesmere Port Local Policing Unit and 114 fall under the boundaries of Northwich Local Policing Unit.
Cheshire Constabulary – which manages all registered sex offenders in its jurisdiction together with partner agencies – says many sex offenders can live within communities without any issues, but the safety of members of the public is their top priority.
Detective Chief Superintendent Nigel Wenham, head of the force’s Public Protection Directorate, explained: “Cheshire Constabulary currently has responsibility to manage 1,413 registered sex offenders. Each is risk assessed and dealt with according to the requirements of the Sexual Offences Act and managed under the Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) working with a range of statutory and non-statutory partners. Our priority is to work together to keep the public safe.
“When we receive new information about the conduct of any of those individuals, the risk posed by them is re-assessed and action taken to manage the risk and minimise harm to the public. Where offenders breach legal restrictions placed upon them, an investigation commences and positive action is taken. We also work with those offenders who want to avoid reoffending. The majority of sex offenders, appropriately managed, go on to live within communities without further incident.
“We do not comment on individual cases because publicity can damage appropriate management of the risks they pose. Where it is necessary for an individual’s presence in the community to be made public we act within the law to do this. These are difficult decisions taken on a regular basis by specially trained officers.”
That figure of 1,083 offenders who live in the community has risen since December 2016 – when it was 988 – but Det Chief Supt Wenham say this reflects the increase in the numbers of reported sexual offences, ‘with more offenders being brought to justice’.
The child sex offender disclosure scheme – which was developed in consultation with mum Sara Payne and is also known as Sarah’s Law – allows parents, carers and guardians to apply to find out if someone has a record for sexual offences against children. It was rolled out to all 43 police forces in England and Wales in 2008.
How the figure breaks down by Local Policing Unit area:
Chester – 137
Crewe – 249
Ellesmere Port – 93
Macclesfield – 140
Northwich – 114
Runcorn – 78
Warrington – 210
Widnes – 62
Anyone who has concerns about an individual they believe is a sex offender should make the police in that area aware either through the non-emergency 101 number or anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.