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Fugitive sex offenders 'missing' from Lancashire

The police force was asked to reveal the number of registered sex offenders whose whereabouts were unknown
The police force was asked to reveal the number of registered sex offenders whose whereabouts were unknown

Police in Lancashire have lost track of twelve known sex offenders - one of which has been missing since 2008.

The police force was asked to reveal the number of registered sex offenders whose whereabouts were unknown on January 17, 2018 as part of a Freedom of Information Request.

Figures released show that one went missing in 2008, another in 2009, three went missing in 2012, one in 2015, two in 2016 and four in 2017.

A spokesman for Lancashire Police also said that the identities of the outstanding sex offenders could not be revealed as it would be likely to breach The Data Protection Act.

Chief Insp Nicola Bithell, of Lancashire Police, said: "In Lancashire the number of recorded wanted or missing sex offenders remains low.

"The majority of these individuals are known or believed to be living abroad or have now returned to their country of origin.

"When registered sex offenders are missing or wanted in the UK, all police forces are alerted. If they return to the UK, there are processes in place to ensure that they are brought to the attention of police and arrested where appropriate.

"While we understand the concerns regarding the activity of convicted sex offenders and the issues they present to the community, we can assure members of the public we are committed to managing them, with our other criminal justice partners, in line with the risk that they present to the community."

Alex Mayes, spokesperson for independent charity Victim Support said: “These figures will potentially be very alarming to victims of sexual offences and the public knowing there are a small number of sex offenders in the Lancashire area that are unaccounted for.”

“To ensure the safety and wellbeing of survivors of sexual offences, as well as local communities, it is vital that the police strictly monitor sex offenders.

“We provide practical and emotional support to victims of all crimes, including sexual offences."

Nearly 500 sex offenders are believed to be missing nationally according to recent figures compiled by Sky News.

Under the Sex Offenders Act, all convicted sex offenders must register with the police, in person, within three days of their conviction, or release from prison.

Once registered, a convicted sex offender must continue this registration on an annual basis.

Anyone looking for help can contact Victim Support's free 24/7 Supportline on 08 08 16 89 111 or visit www.victimsupport.org.uk.