Rise in number of sex criminals sent back to jail

FOURTEEN perverts put under special monitoring by police due to their high risk of reoffending were sent back to prison in a single year, new figures have revealed.

• Alan Ogilvie was sent back to jail after contacting young men last year

The sex offenders were jailed after breaking the terms of their sexual offence prevention orders (Sopos), which impose severe limits on their movements and behaviour, between last April and March.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The number of breached Sopos rose from eight in the previous year, while a total of one in four of the active orders was broken in Lothian and Borders during that period.

Police chiefs today said the rise in breaches was evidence of the force's "robust" approach to monitoring offenders.

Critics, however, said the rise showed that tougher measures were needed to monitor the worst sexual offenders living in the community.

The strict orders, which are given to those convicted of a sex offence or a serious offence with a sexual element, are handed to criminals with the greatest risk of reoffending.

The Sopos can impose restrictions on where a person can live, ban them from approaching women they do not know, prohibit them from being in contact with children, and restrict access to the internet.

In September, police chiefs revealed that a total of 49 Sopos were currently active in the force area. Among those jailed for breaching their order was shamed weightlifting champion Alan Ogilvie, 42, jailed last November for three years for tricking young boys into taking part in internet "cyber-sex" sessions.

Ogilvie admitted communicating with young men under the age of 16 between September 1, 2008, and June 2, 2009, at Nisbet Court in Restalrig, thereby violating his order.

Gavin Brown, Lothians Tory MSP, said: "(These figures] show that far more robust measures are required to protect people from sex offenders.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"Merely placing somebody on the sex offenders register is not enough."

The figures were outlined in the third annual Mappa (Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements) report, published yesterday. Mappa requires the police, Scottish Prison Service, NHS and local authorities to work together to monitor sex offenders.

A specialist police unit mounts surveillance operations at locations such as parks, private homes and public toilets to monitor if the Sopo orders are being broken.

A police spokesman said: "Lothian and Borders Police arrested 14 offenders who were returned to prison for breach of their sexual offences prevention order prohibitions. The rise in the number of Sopo breaches reflects the robust approach taken by police in obtaining such orders."

As of March this year there were 598 registered sex offenders (RSOs) living in the community in the force area. The report showed that there were 39 breaches by RSOs where they failed to notify police about a change of address.

A total of 736 sex offender cases were dealt with under Mappa between April last year and March, with more than 98 per cent complying with their registration requirements and not reoffending.

David Hume, chair of the Edinburgh, Lothian and Borders Executive Group, said: "Although the risks posed can never be fully eliminated, we want to reassure the public that the measures that we have in place are the most effective means of minimising those risks."

Last December, Keith Martin, 44, who had a record for sex crimes, including rape, admitted breaching his Sopo by forming a relationship with a girl aged four or five. He admitted visiting her and "play fighting" and tickling her at her Edinburgh home in 2008 and 2009.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In March, ex-soldier Douglas McNaught, who was banned for life from speaking to children having served a six-year jail term for a sex attack on a young girl, admitted breaking the terms of a Sopo less than a year after it was imposed.

The 61-year-old reduced a nine-year-old boy to tears during an incident in the Prestonfield area in September last year.

It is not known whether Martin and McNaught were returned to jail following the breaches.