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Police Perspective on Sex Offender Orders: A Preliminary Review of Policy and Practice

NCJ Number
Katy Knock
Lawrence Singer
Date Published
80 pages
This report details police reactions to Sex Offender Orders that were implemented in the United Kingdom in order to control the risks that sex offenders pose in local communities.
Examining the use of Sex Offender Orders (SOOs) in the United Kingdom, this report discusses police reactions to SOOs since their implementation in 1998. Arguing that the United Kingdom has been expressing growing concerns about the risks posed by sex offenders in local communities, the author maintains that the introduction of SOOs was a legislative response designed to manage and monitor sex offenders. Introduced under the Crime and Disorder Act and begun on December 1, 1998, SOOs is described as an additional measure for protecting the public from sex offenders. Conducting telephone surveys and interviews with key individuals at various police forces throughout England and Wales between January 2001 and November 2001, the author assessed SOOs finding that between December 1998 and March 2001, 92 SOOs had been awarded to 38 out of 43 police forces. With an application success rate of 94 percent, the pattern of SOO applications demonstrated that six police forces were particularly enthusiastic in seeking SOOs. Focusing on the SOOs process, drafting effective prohibitions, court issues, the monitoring of successful SOOs applications, breaches of SOOs, and the press coverage of SOOs this report found that, overall, police department and related agencies’ responses to the implementation of SOO’s were positive with many law enforcement officials contending that SOOs represented a positive policy shift towards implementing measures to protect the community from sex offenders. Additionally, survey and interview respondents believed that SOOs represent a practical new tool for a multi-agency approach to the management of high-risk sex offenders, strengthening the relationship between the police and the probation service. Tables, figures, references