Revealed: Where Sex Offenders Are Living

More community-managed paedophiles and sex offenders are living in south Belfast than anywhere else in Northern Ireland, it has emerged. Almost 100 monitored sex offenders are residing in the area, according to a police report.

The high proportion has been attributed to the transient nature of an area brimming with flats and rental accommodation. Londonderry has the second highest number with 53 cases and north Belfast follows with 50 cases. The areas with the fewest are Magherafelt and Moyle, each with four.

In total 693 paedophiles and sex offenders are being managed in the community across the province, according to the Northern Ireland Sex Offender Strategic Management Committee’s third annual report. This figure includes four category three sex offenders, who the authorities believe pose a serious risk. Another 237 have been classed as medium risk – meaning their behaviour gives “clear cause for concern” – and 452 are low risk.

Assistant Chief Constable Drew Harris, the chairman of the Northern Ireland Sex Offender Strategic Management Committee, insisted that protection of the public is top priority. “I can assure the public that there is now a well-defined system in place, coupled with real commitment to working together to make Northern Ireland’s homes, streets and communities safer for all our families.”

All of these sex offenders are managed by the Multi-Agency Sex Offender Risk Assessment and Management unit (MASRAM), which aims to minimise the likelihood of sex offenders committing further offences or causing harm to the public.

According to the report there are also 77 sex offenders in jail who are subject to the management arrangements, while another 89 prisoners are waiting for assessment.

The number of sex offenders subject to MASRAM arrangements has increased by 172 over the past two years. The report said the increase reflects the fact that sex offenders coming into the arrangements will always be subject to risk assessment and an appropriate level of risk management.

The number of people on the sex offenders register has also increased in the past year because of the number of new convictions and because most who come under the legislation are subject to a notification period of five years or more. There were 687 men and three women in Northern Ireland on the sex offenders register by the end of March – a rise of 70 (11%) on last year.

As well as confirming that six failed to comply with the sex offenders register, the dossier also showed that 30 Sexual Offences Prevention Orders (SOPOs), and nine Risk of Sexual Harm Orders (RSHOs) were granted during 2006/07.