SOPO Orders Breached By Hundreds Of Sex Offenders

823 Breaches Of Sexual Offences Prevention Orders In 2013-14


Andrew Robinson, Press Officer | 0113 218 6463
Sexual Offences Prevention Orders (SOPOs) are regularly being ignored by convicted sex offenders, with 823 breaches in 2013-14, it was revealed today.

Figures obtained by the BBC found that breaches occurred on 27% of orders. SOPOs were introduced in 2003 to reduce the risk posed by sex offenders.

SOPOs can be imposed on conviction, or when an offender leaves prison, but experts say the system is open to abuse and doesn’t adequately protect victims.

The orders restrict convicted sex offenders from having unsupervised contact with children or entering schools and play areas, and mean offenders must inform police about changes in address.

Despite the number of breaches, a police spokesperson insisted that all breaches are investigated and that offenders can be sent back to prison depending on the seriousness of the breach.

Cumbria's Deputy Chief Constable Michelle Skeer, who manages policy concerning sexual offenders for the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), applauded the police’s awareness and “proactive activity” in response to the issue.

"I think members of the public would like to see all registered sex offenders sent back to prison but we've got to be realistic”, she said.

"It depends on the level of the breach. Those individuals that go before the courts for a serious offence - in the main, they will be recalled back to prison."

Expert Opinion
It is very concerning that so many individuals convicted of sexual offences are breaching the orders put in place to protect their victims and members of the public. We welcome the fact that the police investigate every breach, but it is important that the general public are reassured everything possible is being done to prevent offenders from breaching the orders in place against them.

“The top priority should always be ensuring the survivors of sexual abuse are provided with the help, support and reassurances they need and that those responsible for offences against them will be brought to justice and prevented from offending again.”
Tracey Storey, Partner