Dozens of sex offenders in Tayside and Fife previously subject to “indefinite notification” have been wiped from the register.
The offenders include those convicted of rape, sexual assault, child sexual abuse, indecent exposure and possession of indecent images of children.
It’s been revealed that 25 sex offenders in Tayside and Fife no longer have to register their movements and that victims are not necessarily notified that their attacker is no longer seen as a threat.
Offenders previously subject to “indefinite notification” could move in with a young family or live near a school.
They will also be able to travel abroad freely without informing the authorities.
Scottish Conservative shadow justice spokesman Liam Kerr MSP said: “The public deserve to feel safe and they also deserve to know ‘indefinite’ does not necessarily actually mean ‘indefinite’. They will certainly be surprised to know registration can be as short as 15 years, or eight for offenders who were aged 18 or under at the time of their offence.
“Police in Scotland have a statutory duty to review cases instead of waiting for an application, as happens in England and Wales.
“The public will be concerned to learn that, as a result, many convicted sex offenders can now move freely in communities.”
The chief constable has a duty to review the need to continue the notification requirements in respect of offenders subject to “indefinite notification” after they have been in the community for 15 years from their date of conviction. For offenders under the age of 18 at the time of conviction, the review period is eight years.
In Tayside there were eight sex offenders removed from the register in 2016-17 and two in Fife.
In the past six months, one sex offender was removed from the register in Tayside while the notification requirements were discontinued for 14 in Fife.
A police spokesman said: “While we can never eliminate risk entirely, we want to reassure communities that all reasonable steps are being taken to protect them.”
When someone on the sex offenders register who is notifying indefinitely has been doing so for the prescribed period, the police will carry out a review.
The chief constable will assess the risk of harm to the public and decide whether they need to remain on the register. If they remain, the police will set a period of up to 15 years for further review.