Sara Payne, whose daughter Sarah was killed by a convicted paedophile, claims the UK has become "a sex offender's playground". The mother of murder
Sara Payne, whose daughter Sarah was killed by a convicted paedophile, claims the UK has become “a sex offender’s playground”.
The mother of murdered schoolgirl Sarah Payne has blamed Government cuts for the sharp rise in registered sex offenders going missing across Britain.
Sara Payne, whose eight-year-old daughter was killed in 2000 by a convicted paedophile, said the country has become “a sex offender’s playground” following years of austerity measures.
Her remarks come after Sky News revealed UK police forces have lost track of 485 registered sex offenders including rapists and paedophiles – a 22% rise on March 2015.
Dr Payne, who works with The Phoenix Post campaign group for victims of paedophiles, told Sky News: “The Government have used the austerity argument to virtually deconstruct child protection in this country, until it is exactly what you see before you – a sex offender’s playground, protected by an anti-victim prejudice-groomed government, unwittingly force-funded by good and decent taxpayers.
“For the sake of the children, it’s long past time that we change the way this works.”
A Ministry of Justice report published last October showed there were a total of 55,236 registered sex offenders living in England and Wales in 2016/17.
They are subject to Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (Mappas), where authorities manage the risk posed by certain sexual and violent criminals living in the community.
Peter Kirkham, a former detective chief inspector with the Metropolitan Police, said cuts to forces and the probation service meant it had become more difficult to monitor registered sex offenders.
He told Sky News: “The Government keeps pursuing the idea that you can keep doing more with less.
“There is no mystery to police work. If you have more officers and resources, you will have better results.
“There has been a massive increase in the number of people on the sex offenders’ register. At the same time, there have been massive cuts to the police and probation service.
“The probation service has suffered from privatisation which has been an unmitigated disaster.”
The Home Office has insisted the UK has “some of the toughest powers in the world” to deal with registered sex offenders and the number missing is less than 1% of the total on the register.
“We have significantly strengthened the system of reporting that sex offenders are subject to, and a range of civil orders have given police more powers to manage their behaviour,” the spokesman said.
“When a registered sex offender goes missing, their details are recorded on national and international systems and the police will actively seek out further information and intelligence to locate them.”