Big rise in sex offenders being monitored by Cumbria police
Cumbria police has seen a 35 per cent increase in the number of sex offenders it has to oversee and manage since the start of last year.
The figure was included in a detailed report presented to the county's police and crime commissioner, Peter McCall, by Detective Chief Superintendent Andy Slattery, who said many of the offenders concerned are still in jail.
But the force will eventually have to monitor and manage those criminals when they are back in the community, he said.
Figures released confirmed that there are currently 529 sex offenders being monitored in communities across Cumbria, along with 171 violent offenders.
The Cumbrian figure reflects exactly the rise in registered sex offenders nationally – the increase in part being down to a growing number of victims who have come forward in the wake of the Jimmy Savile sex scandal.
The highest concentration of people on the official Sex Offenders' Register are in north Cumbria.
All such offenders must keep police aware of where they are living and occasions when they are away from home for more than seven days.
The concentration of Sex Offender Register individuals in the north of the county is down to the city having an approved hostel which takes sex criminals from elsewhere in the country.
The figures were discussed during a top-level meeting of senior crimefighting figures at the force's Carleton Hall headquarters, near Penrith.
In Cumbria, the meeting heard, each specialist officer involved in monitoring sex offenders has a caseload of 54 offenders, though the figure rises to an average of 75 when criminals still in jail are added to the list.
In the meeting, Mr McCall was told that in the year to April there had been a 10.3 per cent rise in the number of sex crimes reported in the county.
But senior officers said this is down to a growing confidence among victims that they will be listened to and their cases properly investigated.
Speaking after the meeting, Det Chief Supt Slattery said: “It's not just the Jimmy Saville effect.
"It's about the number of high-profile cases which are coming forward from the 1970s, 80s and 90s.
“People are realising that this is a priority for the police; that victims haven't been forgotten and they will be supported to get justice, however long that justice has been delayed.
"We have a professional response to historic sexual offences.
“We've increased our staffing in this area. There are more resources and there has been more training of front line staff – staff who are trained in how to deal appropriately with staff when they ring in to report sexual crimes.”