Staffordshire Police chiefs say shocking new figures which show a rise in number of registered sex offenders in the county is down to their more “proactive” stance.
Figures released by the Ministry of Justice show in Staffordshire the number of registered offenders has risen from 939 in 2014-15 to 1,002 in 2015-16.
Staffordshire Police chiefs today moved to reassure the public, saying their new approach to dealing reports has helped net more offenders.
Det Chief Insp Sarah Wainwright, from the Staffordshire Total Offender Management unit, told StaffsLive: “Staffordshire Police has a dedicated Violent and Sex Offender Management unit responsible for the management of registered sex offenders.
“Adhering to national guidelines, the process of managing sex offenders is dealt with in a multi-agency way.
“Staffordshire Police takes a proactive stance in relation to identifying and dealing with sex offenders.
“In addition, Staffordshire Police have a dedicated CSE online team ‘Operation Safenet’ which was set up to identify online abusers who view, download and share child abuse.
“As a result of this proactive work, we have been able to deal with abusers and identify and safeguard numerous child victims and potential victims.”
It’s believed the figures could be down to an increase in victims reporting crimes, and a change in attitudes with police taking them more seriously.
Nationwide, there has been a rise of more than six per cent in the last year, and a rise of three quarters over the last 10 years, showing a steady increase in sexual crimes.
A NSPCC spokesman said: “It’s good more of these individuals are being put on the list of registered sex offenders but it’s worrying that this is such a prolific problem, as many of these offenders will be paedophiles.
“A trend towards more survivors of sex abuse being willing to come forward is encouraging.
“But there is no room for complacency and it is important to report signs of sexual abuse when they occur.”
Non-emergency crimes can be reported to Staffordshire Police on 101.