HC Deb 02 December 2002 vol 395 c604W
Mr. Hunter

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many(a) sex offender orders, (b) disqualification orders and (c) restraining orders are in place, and what assessment his Department has made of their effectiveness. [82673]

Hilary Benn

There have been 173 sex offender orders made in England and Wales between 1 December 1998 and 31 March 2002.

Information on disqualification orders and restraining orders, introduced in 2001 are not yet available.

Paper 155 in the Police Research Series, published in the summer of 2002: "The Police Perspective on Sex Offender Orders: A preliminary review of policy and practice" showed that the police found sex offender orders to be a useful tool and that orders were perceived to be a practical mechanism for a multi-agency approach to the management of high-risk sex offenders.

The Police Reform Act 2002 contained a number of changes to improve the effectiveness and flexibility of sex offender orders. This included the introduction of interim sex offender orders. Interim orders will enable arrangements to be put in place to protect the public before a decision on a full order has been taken by the Court. The changes will be implemented on 2 December and we have issued new guidance to the police and courts on using sex offender orders. Additionally, on 19 November we published our proposals for further legislation in this area in the Command Paper, "Protecting the Public." In relation to sex offenders, these proposals include: Registered offenders will be required to confirm annually and in person at their local police station that the information held about them is still up to date. A new order to make those convicted of sex offences overseas register their details when they come to the United Kingdom. Reducing the period within which a sex offender must notify the police of change of name or address from 14 days to three. Offenders will be required to provide their National Insurance details when registering. This will make it easier to identify and find those offenders who try to evade the registration requirements.