Six registered sex offenders have evaded police and fled the UK, it has emerged.
Figures from Police Scotland show the force has live warrants in place for the men who are required to notify the authorities of their whereabouts under the Sexual Offences Act.
There are currently almost 4,000 sex offenders in the community in Scotland being monitored under Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA). A further 1,300 are in custody.
Police Scotland said its enquiries had established six sex offenders had left the country, although a seventh had been traced and arrested.
The force said all six were in “known countries” and that measures had been put in place to arrest them should they return to the UK.
Last year it emerged hundreds of sex offenders had failed to notify police of their whereabouts.
Scottish Government statistics showed between 2010 and 2015 there were 830 incidents of registered sex offenders not telling the police about a change of address or giving a required annual notification.
It led the Scottish Conservatives to call on police to publish the names of sex offenders who fail to update authorities on their location.
The current system used to manage sex offenders brings together the police, local authorities, the Scottish Prison Service and health boards and can include regular police visits and interviews, surveillance of those considered high-risk and the recalling offenders who breach their release conditions.
Detective Chief Inspector Robert Paterson said: “Enquiries have confirmed these six registered sex offenders (RSOs) are all abroad in known countries.
“Measures are in place to arrest these individuals should they return to the UK.”
He continued: “While the reality is the risks posed to the public by such individuals can never be completely eliminated, there is significant evidence the multi-agency public protection arrangements (MAPPA) successfully keeps them to a minimum.”
He added: “Police Scotland has a robust framework and structure in place to enforce this legislation and ensure all the tools available are used to manage RSOs effectively. We give priority to locating missing and wanted sex offenders with a senior investigative officer appointed to lead each enquiry.”