Neighbourhood cops called in to monitor sex offenders as numbers grow in South Yorkshire
Sex offenders released back into South Yorkshire communities are now being monitored by neighbourhood police teams, leaving only the most serious cases in the hands of specialised staff as numbers continue to grow.
Historically, sex offenders have been the responsibility of highly trained officers with the remit of preventing reoffending and ensuring those involved abide by any restrictions placed on their behaviour.
But numbers of sexual offences have been growing – an issue blamed partly on the opportunities provided by the internet – with neighbourhood officers now expected to step into that role for the less serious offenders on their patch.
The job is one of many South Yorkshire’s recently introduced team of neighbourhood officers are expected to take on, a much more intense role in policing the county’s communities rather than just providing a visible and reassuring police presence.
The work is part of the force’s ‘problem solving’ approach, which seeks to reduce demand by preventing problems re-occurring.
Details emerged at a meeting of Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings’ public accountability board, where the force is held to account for its performance.
Deputy Chief Constable Mark Roberts said: “Neighbourhood police teams are key to reducing demand.
“We give the training to them, to make sure they have the tools. Sex offenders in the community is really illustrative.
“Numbers of sex offenders has grown massively and will continue to grow.
“They only way to stop it is to turn off the internet. We have a demand which is growing and growing.
“We have specialists who deal with the highest risk people. Neighbourhood teams have a responsibility to know people in the community and work with them,” he said.
A recent example of how that system works was the arrest of a sex offender who was found, on a visit by neighbourhood police, to have young people in their home – something which was barred under restrictions covering their activities.