Tenth of sex offenders on police radar living in one city postcode

Police Scotland said it has dealt with nearly 22,000 individual investigations into missing people over the past year.
Police Scotland said it has dealt with nearly 22,000 individual investigations into missing people over the past year.

COMMUNITY leaders have raised concerns after it emerged almost a tenth of sex offenders being monitored by police are living within one postcode area.

Officers are keeping tabs on 612 sex offenders across Edinburgh and the Lothians, with 53 signing the register in EH11 alone – covering Sighthill, Gorgie and Dalry.

Worried community members said they wanted answers on whether the postcode’s social housing was making it an easy target to rehouse released prisoners.

“This is absolutely shocking and first I want to find out if there’s something in the housing policy about why the area is attracting more sex offenders than other parts of the city,” said the SNP’s Sighthill/Gorgie councillor Catherine Fullerton.

“We have so much social housing in Sighthill and I will be asking questions of officials to find out the policy as they come out of prison, assuming they’ve been in prison. Do they get housing close by?”

Numbers obtained through Freedom of Information laws also show 47 offenders in Livingston (EH54) and 42 in Leith (EH6).

Crimes committed include rape, incest, sodomy and lewd behaviour in “contact” offences, and voyeurism, flashing and child porn as “non-contact”.

John Aitken, chair of North Sighthill Residents Association, said: “If there’s large numbers of serious sex offenders being rehoused in our area, with schools here, then to be honest I’m very concerned about that.

“Of course, the other thing is a lot of these people don’t come from this area. When these people come out of prison they have to be rehoused.

“You always assume they’re rehoused in the area they come from – but maybe not if that’s where they committed the crime.

“To have these people in the midst of our community with parents of young children is worrying – depending on what offences they have committed.”

Sex offenders are automatically ordered to sign the register for a range of offences, handing over their personal details to police.

They must do so again each time they move address and there are often limitations on foreign travel.

They also have a dedicated offender manager at the police station who arranges visits, including some unannounced calls at their home.

Sex offenders are sentenced to custodial sentences or, in less serious cases, community orders and sign-up to a rehab programme.

A council spokeswoman said: “It is policy not to comment on individual cases but we do have a robust procedure in place to deal with the housing of registered sex offenders. Included in this is a risk assessment which is completed by council staff together with the police before an individual is housed.”

Detective Inspector Jacqueline Cotterell said: “We are committed to protecting our communities from harm.”

andy.shipley@jpress.co.uk