Danger to the public and watched by police 24/7

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THREE South Yorkshire criminals freed from jail are deemed so dangerous they are kept under police surveillance 24 hours a day, The Star can reveal.

The trio of offenders - released from serving prison sentences - are watched by police officers and the probation service round-the-clock.

More than 1,000 more make up a list of ‘dangerous’ criminals who pose a threat to the South Yorkshire public, and who are deemed at risk of re-offending after their time behind bars.

Of the 1,197 at-risk offenders at large in the community and registered with the county’s police, probation and prison services, 961 were sex offenders and 232 had committed violent crimes.

Four others were neither sex offenders nor violent - but were still deemed ‘dangerous’ enough to need some level of monitoring.

Last year 141 criminals, classified as ‘in need of managing’ on their release from jail, had their names added to the list.

All the offenders were graded depending on how much of a risk to the public they pose, and three were classed at the top of the scale - level three.

Their surveillance means they have their movements watched, are required to live in approved accommodation, and may be monitored throughout the night as well as the day.

But offenders classed at level two on the scale may also be subject to elements of monitoring or live in secure, supervised premises.

Roz Brown, chief executive of South Yorkshire Probation Trust, said police carry out ‘really intensive monitoring of the critical few’.

“There are some for whom it may involve the police watching them 24 hours a day, with those people knowing this,” she said.

“It is really intensive monitoring of the critical few, and because of this we have to make sure resources are dedicated to the right people.

“It is expensive but absolutely worth it if it is going to protect the public.”

The data was compiled using figures available up to the end of March this year.

The South Yorkshire Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements body - which brings together the county’s police, probation and prison services to manage offenders on their release from prison - also found 17 registered sex offenders were cautioned or convicted last year for breaching their requirement to keep the authorities up-to-date with their whereabouts.

Ms Brown stressed none of the three most serious level three offenders have gone on to commit any crimes since being released from prison.

“There are a very small number in South Yorkshire - three,” she said.

“Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements are used to monitor sex offenders and very violent offenders.

“A considerable effort goes in to managing the risk they pose, and we are very proud of the fact no level three people have re-offended over the last year or the year before that.

“There is lots of evidence to show this work very well.”

A spokeswoman for the South Yorkshire Probation Trust said monitoring of offenders could also involve curfews, supervised accommodation or medical treatment - arrangements matched specifically to the needs and risks of the offender.

Ms Brown added: “It will depend on the circumstances of the individual but could, and often does, involve the police picking them up at the prison gates and taking them to a probation service hostel for surveillance, where curfews are in force and where there is 24 hour cover.

“Their plans may also require them to have medical treatment.

“Multi-agency working is a really effective way of managing the risky few.

“People should have confidence that we are managing people who are released from prison after serving their sentences.”