Controversy As Welsh Police Send Christmas Cards To Sex Offenders

Rapists and paedophiles living in Wales are this year receiving a Christmas card from the police, we can reveal. South Wales Police confirmed the decision to send out the cards last night, saying it was a reminder to sex criminals that the force knew where they were living.

But reaction to the news was mixed, with some finding it bizarre that some of the most reviled members of society were getting Christmas greetings.

We received an email from a sex offender saying, “I prefer to stay anonymous but can assure you this isn’t a practical joke.

“I’m in South Wales and this will be my third Christmas on the Sex Offenders Register. Previously I haven’t received any Christmas card from South Wales Police, but did last weekend along with, I understand, everyone else in the region on the SOR.

“The card I found to be in extraordinary bad taste… so much so in fact that I thought it might arouse your interest. You’ll see it’s signed by the force’s head of public protection.”

The emailer even suggested “law-abiding citizens would be outraged that the police are wasting taxpayers’ money sending cards to sex fiends”.

The front of the card depicts an unidentifiable prisoner lying on a mattress in a cell next to a miniature Christmas tree and a toilet, under the South Wales Police logo and a heading which says “Happy Christmas?”.

Inside, the message, signed by Detective Superintendent Simon Clarke, head of public protection at South Wales Police, reads, “Where are you going to spend Christmas Day? South Wales Police are continuing to work together with known offenders. Season’s Greetings from South Wales Police.”

A statement issued on behalf of Mr Clarke said, “The police service have both the moral and legal duty to supervise people who are subject to sex offender registration. The level of supervision is in response to risk assessments, which are conducted through partnership working.

“These Christmas cards have been sent to all registered sex offenders who live in our force area.

“They will hopefully serve as a timely reminder to ensure these people are under no illusions that the police stop working or relax their rules during the festive period. Of course, we are not implying that all sex offenders re-offend, but we do know that it has happened in the past, so there is no room for complacency.

“This is merely a tactic – a preventative measure – which aims to point out the serious consequences of their actions and intentions.

“It is our duty to protect the public at all times and by whatever means necessary.” The force confirmed there are currently 680 individuals on the Sex Offenders Register in the South Wales Police area.

Monmouth Tory MP and AM David Davies, who in recent months has accompanied police officers from the neighbouring Gwent force on operational duties as an observer, said, “At first this idea sounds extraordinary, and I can understand why some people would find it difficult to go along with. But I can see the sense in it.

“It’s very important that offenders of this kind know that the police are constantly monitoring them, and that there will be no relaxation of vigilance over the Christmas period.

“I have been reassured on the occasions when I have gone out with police officers in Gwent to see how they subtly let sex offenders in the community know that they are under observation.

“Sometimes it’s simply a question of driving past a location where the police know they will be. Given that people on the Sex Offenders Register are out in the community, I think this kind of approach is the right one.”

But Plaid Cymru Shadow Social Justice Minister Leanne Wood, a former probation officer, said, “It is good to know that the police are monitoring the people they are meant to be over the festive period.

“But sex crimes are very serious indeed and I would question whether sending a Christmas card is appropriate. It could be viewed as flippant by victims and survivors and their families. Would it not have been better to make the point in the form of a letter?”