Improved monitoring of sex offenders in Scotland announced

Tough new measures to improve the monitoring of sex offenders in Scotland were announced this week by the Scottish executive.

An independent review of the sex offenders’ registration scheme was carried out by Professor Irving last year after Mark Cummings was murdered by a registered sex offender.

Justice minister Cathy Jamieson, who commissioned the report, said: “We have carefully considered that report, as well as concerns raised by the family and friends of Mark Cummings and the more recent case of Rory Blackhall, and concluded that a number of changes should now be made to further tighten the controls over sex offenders.”

Measures include:

• Requiring sex offenders to provide a DNA sample if one was not taken at the time of charge or conviction.

• Giving the police additional powers to enter and search a sex offender’s home for the purpose of risk assessment, monitoring or to check information held on the register.

• Requiring sex offenders to provide more information about themselves such as passports and bank accounts.

• Introducing a formal police warnings system for sex offenders whose whereabouts or activities are giving rise to concern.

Jamieson concluded: “Sexual offences are sickening and horrific crimes. First and foremost those convicted of such serious crimes deserve punishment, in prison, for a very long time.

“But as a society we must also look beyond punishment to the prospect, the hope, of rehabilitation. But rehabilitation that at each and every stage is assessed, monitored and where necessary reviewed and revoked against the key test of public safety,” she added.

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