Northamptonshire criminals convicted of rapes and sex assaults removed from register

Nine Northamptonshire sex offenders convicted of wicked crimes including rape will no longer be automatically monitored after they successfully appealed to be removed from a register.

Northamptonshire Police's HQ.
Northamptonshire Police's HQ.

The depraved criminals, who have not been identified, were taken off the register for sex offenders in 2018, a Freedom of Information request revealed. No offenders were removed in 2017.

The nine sex offenders were originally convicted of offences prior to 2003 including rape (three charges), attempted rape (one charge), gross indecency (six charges), incest (three charges), inciting gross indecency (one charge), indecent assault (21 charges) and indecent images (one charge). Numerous offenders are convicted of more than one charge so it is not known exactly how many convicted rapists have been removed, although it is between one and three.

A spokesman for Rape Crisis England and Wales said: “Without the full detail of each case and appeal, it’s difficult to know exactly how or why these decisions were made. But it’s difficult to imagine a scenario in which it would be appropriate to remove someone convicted of rape or any other serious sexual offence from the register.

"It’s important to remember that the majority of rapists and sexual offenders are never convicted, and when they are it’s vitally important that they are appropriately monitored and managed to prevent danger to the public and future offending.

"Rape and sexual abuse are among the most serious and traumatic crimes someone can be subjected to. They have wide-ranging, long-lasting impacts on lives and health. Their seriousness should be reflected in how offenders are dealt with.”

Thousands found guilty of sex crimes are placed on a register for sex offenders each year and forced to provide information such as their address, bank account details, whether they live with a child and passport details. Details of an offender who is on the register could also be disclosed to others if it was deemed that there was a risk of sexual harm.

They must re-register every year and inform police of any travel plans or changes to their name or address, limiting their freedom and allowing police to track them upon release. Failing to do so is a separate criminal offence for which they can be jailed.

But a change in the law in 2012 meant that anyone who had been on the register for 15 years - a period so long their crimes would have also carried a jail sentence - could apply to their local police force to be taken off the register.

In 2017 this newspaper revealed six other offenders had been removed from the register since 2012.

Decisions to ratify a person being removed from the register are taken by a senior police officer in conjunction with the offender management unit. Information about the nature of the offence, the applicant’s behaviour since their conviction and compliance with the terms of the register are all taken into account.

A Northamptonshire Police spokesman said: “We do not, in any way, underestimate how much of an impact being a victim of a sex crime has on a person.

“As part of the Sexual Offences Act, a sex offender is able to apply for removal from the register for sex offenders after 15 years.

“This legislation came about after lifetime registration was challenged by an offender in the European Court of Human Rights and the challenge was upheld.

“The considerations the police are asked to make by law as part of this process include the offender’s current circumstances, how they have behaved since being placed on the register and whether they pose a risk of re-offending. The victim of their original crime is also consulted as part of this process.

“If they satisfy the criteria set out, the application makes its way to a Detective Superintendent to consider and sign off.”