20 Nov 2012
The number of registered sex offenders living in Scottish communities has reached a five-year high, figures have shown.
There are now 3222 convicted sex offenders living in cities, towns and villages, compared to only 2984 in 2008-09, and nearly 100 more than last year.
Many of these individuals will have been released prematurely from prison under the Scottish Government’s automatic early release scheme.
The Scottish Conservatives have renewed calls for the satellite tracking of sex offenders in light of the figures, which would ensure they would have to abide by the rules of their release or face tough consequences.
The statistics were released as part of the Scottish Government’s police performance statistics, which also showed officers were handing out fewer fixed penalty notices for antisocial behaviour, and the estimated number of problem drug users had increased.
Scottish Conservative chief whip John Lamont MSP said:
“People should not have to live in fear of sex offenders in the community.
“But they have to be housed somewhere, and that is why satellite tracking is so crucial to this.
“At least they can be monitored that way and if they are found to breach the terms of their release, authorities can be alerted instantly and the punishment severe.
“We also think if the Scottish Government dropped its automatic early release, as it has promised to do on more than one occasion, this would allow such offenders to serve fuller sentences and have more chance of being rehabilitated.”
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