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FAQs

MAPPA Annual Report 2021

FAQs

What is MAPPA?

Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements, or MAPPA, are a statutory set of partnership working arrangements operated by the responsible authorities (Police, Local Authorities, the Scottish Prison Service and Health) that aim to protect the public by managing offending.

MAPPA allows relevant offenders to be identified, information to be shared, risk assessments and management plans to be agreed and for those plans to be reviewed and amended as necessary.

 

Which agencies are involved in MAPPA?

There is a legal duty on Police, Local Authorities, the Scottish Prison Service and Health as Responsible Authorities, to establish arrangements for the assessment and management of risk posed by registered sex offenders, restricted patients and certain other risks of serious harm to individuals. In addition, a range of other agencies that have dealings with these individuals is under a duty to co-operate with the Responsible Authorities. These include:

  • The Principal Reporter to the Scottish Children's Reporter Administration
  • Housing Providers
  • Social Security Scotland
  • Electronic Monitoring providers

 

Why does each area publish an annual report?

MAPPA are a set of statutory arrangements and the law requires the Responsible Authorities not only to establish arrangements about dangerous individuals but also to review and monitor the operation of those arrangements and publish an annual report as to their effectiveness.

 

Some registered sex offenders have gone on to commit a further serious offence.  Does this indicate a failure by police and MAPPA partners to use all the powers available to protect communities?

We cannot completely eliminate risk nor can we be complacent.  We recognise that there has been a decrease in the number of individuals convicted of non-sexual and sexual crimes in the last year (96 in 2020-21 compared to 97 in 2019-20).

When individuals managed under MAPPA commit further serious crimes, we have put in place a significant case review process that examines the management arrangements for the individual and identifies areas of learning and improvement for future policy and practice. The Scottish Government and the Responsible Authorities will continue to work together to assess and improve powers and processes.

 

Why are so many offenders wanted but none are missing?

In 2014 Police Scotland amended the definition of Missing and Wanted sex offenders to align them with the standard definitions of missing and wanted persons.

A Missing person is defined as anyone whose whereabouts is unknown and:

  • where the circumstances are out of character; or
  • the context suggests the person may be subject to crime; or
  • the person is at risk of harm to themselves or another.

A Wanted Registered Sex Offender is defined as those who are subject to the notification requirements of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 and who have a live warrant in force.

In conjunction with this change, Police Scotland undertook detailed investigations to identify the whereabouts of all missing and wanted sex offenders. The current figures relating to missing and wanted sex offenders reflects the positive outcome of this work. Police Scotland treat all missing and wanted Registered Sex Offenders with the utmost seriousness and will carry out thorough enquiries to trace their whereabouts and to re-establish the management required to protect the public.

On all occasions, a Senior Investigating Officer of a rank no less than Inspector will be appointed to lead these investigations. Up to date, figures are available via the Police Scotland website.

 

How many offenders are wanted or missing today?

As of 31st July 2021, Police Scotland has 14 Wanted Registered Sex Offenders.  Enquiries to date indicate that 13 wanted offenders are outwith the UK.

 

Why should sex offenders be allowed to serve sentences in the community?

As with all individuals presented before Scottish courts the gravity of the crime, victim impact and impact on the wider community as well as the background of the individual will be taken into account when sentencing is delivered.  The Scottish Courts and in particular the sentencing decisions of Sheriffs and Judges remain independent.  MAPPA supports the effective management of these individuals.

 

What else is the Government doing to protect the public from sex offenders?

The Management of Offenders (Scotland) Act 2019, passed by the Scottish Parliament and received Royal Assent on 30 July 2019, provides a legislative basis for enhanced electronic monitoring capabilities including GPS & remote substance monitoring. 

The Abusive Behaviour and Sexual Harm (Scotland) Act 2016 which was passed by the Scottish Parliament on 22nd March 2016 and received Royal Assent on 28th April 2016 will strengthen and reform the system of civil orders available to protect communities from those who may commit sexual offences. 

Commencement of the new preventative orders will require legislative provisions to be put in place in other parts of the UK to deal with cross-border arrangements.  We are engaging with our UK counterparts on this and, in the meantime, Sexual Offences Prevention Orders and Risk of Sexual Harm Orders will remain in force.

The Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements in Scotland were further strengthened when Social Security Scotland became a duty to cooperate agency on 8 January 2021, under the Management of Offenders etc. (Scotland) Act 2005 (Specification of Persons) Amendment Order 2020.

The overall aim is to assist SSS clients who are also subject to MAPPA management to secure appropriate benefits. It also allows SSS to staff alert responsible authorities to any change of relevant circumstances, for example, change of bank account, or address etc., of a client who is subject to MAPPA.

 

What is a breach of licence?

Certain sex offenders released into the community following a period of imprisonment of 6 months or more will be subject to a licence with conditions (under justice social work supervision).  If these conditions are not complied with, breach action will be taken and the offender can be recalled to prison.

 

What action is taken if a Sexual Offences Order is breached?

A court may make a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) at the time of dealing with certain sexual offenders or when the police make a special application on account of the individual’s behaviour in the community.  For example, SOPOs can prevent such individuals from being in the vicinity of schools or playgrounds.  If the individual fails to comply with (i.e. breaches) the requirements of the order, he can be taken back to court and may be liable to up to 5 years’ imprisonment.

 

What is the victim’s role in MAPPA?

Although the primary focus of MAPPA is to assess and manage the risks presented by particular individuals, MAPPA must identify and where appropriate engage with victims, and potential victims, to inform the risk assessment on which the risk management plan is based.  Details passed on by victims can be used to understand how an individual operates and hopefully prevent further offences from being committed.  Information provided by victims about risk and behaviour is unlikely to be available from any other source and so this work makes a very real and important contribution to community safety and helps to address issues of risk to the public.


Do victims attend MAPPA meetings?

No.  However, victim issues are regularly discussed during the MAPPA meetings and if further action is required then the appropriate Responsible Authority will be tasked to do so.  It is the job of the MAPPA agencies to manage the risk posed by the offender and as such specific victims and the public will be taken into account when the MAPPA Risk Management Plan is discussed.

 

Why do some areas have a higher proportion of registered sex offenders than others?

There are no obvious or simple explanations for the distribution of Registered Sex Offenders.  There are also wide variations across the 13 police divisions and whilst there may be local explanations for these variations, no national pattern is apparent.

 

Where do sex offenders live?

Housing is an important part of the risk-management process and is fully discussed by all agencies involved in managing the accommodation of a released RSO.

The revised National Accommodation Strategy for Sex Offenders (published in September 2019) provides a national framework, informed by practitioners on the ground, and is the result of positive collaboration between the Communities and Justice Portfolios.

The revised strategy highlights the stringent assessments that are carried out when identifying social housing for RSOs.

An Environmental Risk Assessment is one of many tools used to collectively assess the overall risk and thereafter inform the Risk Management Plan required for each RSO. A risk and victim-based approach ensure each RSO is appropriately managed with the focus being on those posing the greatest risk of harm to our communities.

It gives social housing providers and the public assurance that every reasonable precaution has been taken to safeguard both the local community and the offender, with the prime consideration being the safety of the community.


How does someone become subject to sex offender registration requirements?

Most individuals become subject to the notification requirements upon being convicted of one of the sexual offences listed in Schedule 3 to the Sexual Offences Act 2003.  Individuals can also be placed on the register if they are subject to a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) or are convicted of a breach of a Risk of Sexual Harm Order (RSHO), or interim RSHO.

 

What does an RSO currently have to notify under the requirements?

An individual who becomes subject to the notification requirements must, within 3 days of conviction, notify the police, in person and at a prescribed police station, of their name, address, date of birth, passport, credit card, and bank details and national insurance number.  If the individual is in prison on the day that this requirement falls due then they must make their notification within 3 days of his release.

Such individuals must then notify the police, within 3 days, of any change to their name or their address.  They must also notify the police, within 3 days, if they spend 7 days or more (whether consecutively or within twelve months) at an address they have not already notified the police.  Individuals must also notify the police 7 days in advance of any intended overseas travel.  All offenders must now ensure that they re-confirm their notified details at least once every 12 months. If an individual registers as homeless they must notify the police weekly of their whereabouts. The police can also require an individual to provide fingerprints, DNA and photographs.

 

What is the consequence of not complying with the notification requirements?

If an individual fails to comply with these notification requirements then they commit a criminal offence and are liable to a maximum penalty of 5 years’ imprisonment. 

If the individual is in prison on the day that this requirement falls due then they must make their notification within 3 days of his release.

Such individuals must then notify the police, within 3 days, of any change to their name or their address.  They must also notify the police, within 3 days, if they spend 7 days or more (whether consecutively or within twelve months) at an address they have not already notified the police.  Individuals must also notify the police 7 days in advance of any intended overseas travel.  All offenders must now ensure that they re-confirm their notified details at least once every 12 months. If an individual registers as homeless they must notify the police weekly of their whereabouts. The police can also require an individual to provide fingerprints, DNA and photographs.

Page last updated:
05 Nov 2021

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