14/06/2005

New sex offender procedures revealed

New procedures for assessing and managing sex offenders posing a risk to the public in Northern Ireland have now been established, a new report has said.

The report, by the Northern Ireland Sex Offender Strategic Management Committee (NISOSMC), revealed that the number of registered sex offenders in Northern Ireland on 31 March 2005 was 544.

Assistant Chief Constable Judith Gillespie, who chairs NISOSMC, said: "None of us involved in this process would suggest we can get rid of the risk entirely, but what we have now is a more objective and systematic way of gathering information about risk factors and a consistent method of sharing information between the relevant agencies.”

At present, the number of registered sex offenders for every 100,000 people in Northern Ireland was 46, compared to 48 in Great Britain.

"Our goal is that everyone in Northern Ireland should feel that the arrangements we have in place are sound, will withstand inspection and have the best interests of the community, and in particular children and vulnerable people, at heart,” ACC Gillespie added.

A full-time NISOSMC policy co-ordinator was appointed recently. William McAuley, who has experience in the area of sex offender risk assessment and management as a former police officer, will take up post in the next few weeks. His role will be to take forward and manage NISOSMC work and play a major role in driving the changes flowing from the report of Criminal Justice Inspection Northern Ireland (CJINI).

The NISOSMC is the work of a number of people from agencies such as the PSNI, Probation Board, Prison Service, Health and Social Services boards and trusts, Housing Executive, Northern Ireland Office, Nexus Institute, NSPCC and the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety.

(MB)

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