Anyone who has been convicted of a relevant sexual offence and received a prison sentence of 30 months or more will have to notify the police (often referred to as ‘signing the sex offenders’ register) indefinitely.
However, since 2012 individuals who are subject to indefinite notification requirements have the opportunity to apply to the police for a review of this requirement, after a fixed period of time has elapsed. This is currently 15 years for an adult and 8 years for a juvenile.
Back in 2016, BBC News undertook a Freedom of Information (FOI) request which highlighted the number of people with indefinite notification requirements who had successfully applied to be removed from the Sex Offenders Register (SOR).
We were interested in updating this information and, although the previous FOI covered a four-year period, we have concentrated on just one year, namely April 2017 to March 2018. We made an FOI request for this information and have summarised the findings below. The full response can be seen here.
Some key figures
- Approximately 60,000 individuals were on the sex offenders’ register as at March 2018
- 335 people successfully applied to have their indefinite notification revoked in the year April 2017 – March 2018 out of a total number of 588 applications – a 57% success rate.
- 21 police forces approved over 50% of the applications they received.
Which police forces approved the most/least applications in 2017/18?
- Essex and Cumbria both approved 100% of the applications they received.
- Dyfed Powys, Northamptonshire, Surrey and Warwickshire Police did not approve any requests.
- The charts below give a breakdown of the forces that approved the most/least applications (click on them to enlarge)
What can we take from these figures?
If you are considering applying to have your indefinite notification revoked, then it’s probably interesting to see how the force you’re applying to have dealt with applications in previous years.
- Comparing the most recent FOI with the one carried out in 2016 (which covered a four year period), Devon & Cornwall, Norfolk and North Wales Police were in the top 10 of forces that approved the most applications in both periods.
- Meanwhile, Humberside, Lancashire and West Yorkshire were in the bottom 10 and approved the fewest applications in both periods.
- In 2011-2015 and 2017-2018, Dyfed Powys Police did not approve any applications whilst North Wales Police were one of the forces that had approved the most.
Our advice to anybody with an indefinite notification requirement would be to request a review as soon as you are able to. If you are living in an area where historically very few applications have been approved, then it may be useful to have an informal chat with your PPU officer to get a feel for how your application will be dealt with.