Section 58 of the Violent Crime Act 2006, which received Royal Assent in November 2006, provides for a police power to enter and search a registered sex offender’s home for the purposes of assessing the risk they pose to our communities. This section will be commenced later this spring. Guidance will be provided to practitioners in a Home Office circular.
An analysis of the data on overall reconviction rates for sex offenders who attended and did not attend the sexual offender treatment programme is not available.
Evaluations of the sex offender treatment programme provide evidence of a small but positive impact of the programme on future offending. For example, research found a statistically significant reduction in combined sexual and violent reconviction for HMPS SOTP participants compared to matched non-participants (although not for sexual reconviction) (Friendship, Mann & Beech, 2003). The National Offender Management Service is developing an evaluation strategy for the sex offender treatment programme.
The circumstances in which recall action should be initiated on any offender on licence are laid out in National Standards 2005. These set out minimum standards to be followed in the event of any failure to comply with a requirement of a sentence. There is no specific guidance on recall of sex offenders. Probation officers are trained to assess the level of risk in each case, including sex offenders, and act in order to protect the public.
Probation Circular 16/2005 provides additional guidance to offender managers on the procedures that they must follow when recommending to the Release and Recall Section (RRS) that an offender be recalled. RRS acts on behalf of the Secretary of State. The Circular includes specific instructions for emergency requests, where the offender presents a high, or increasing, risk of serious harm and is subject to Multi- Agency Public Protection Arrangements. In such cases, the offender’s licence is revoked within two hours of notification.