THIRTEEN convicted sex offenders are missing in West Yorkshire, it was revealed today.
The list includes one who has been missing for nearly four years and five who have last known addresses in Leeds.
West Yorkshire Police declined to identify the missing offenders.
Since 2000, there have been 430 cases of sex offenders who have had to be hunted down after going missing.
Two of these escaped police for six-and-a-half years.
The news has been described as “alarming” by a charity.
The NSPCC said the monitoring of sex offenders in communities was a national issue which needs “urgent attention”.
West Yorkshire Police says it has a dedicated team working on bringing the offenders to justice but the figures show one has been missing for nearly four years. Since 2000, there have been 430 cases of sex offenders going missing across the county. Of those, most were found within nine days but 25 took over a year to find and two were only tracked down after a six-and-a-half-year hunt.
An NSPCC spokesman said: “The monitoring of registered sex offenders in communities needs urgent attention. Some of these offenders have committed the most serious of sexual offences against children but even the risk posed by offenders classed as lower risk can increase quickly, because of dynamic factors such as a relationship breakdown or a relapse into substance misuse. The effective monitoring of sex offenders in the community is a critical part in the prevention of child sexual abuse.”
Det Ch Insp Sue Jenkinson, head of safeguarding, said protecting the public from sexual and violent offenders is “at the heart of everything we do”, with specialist district teams, led by a central unit, managing sex offenders. She said: “A risk assessment, in line with national practice, is made on each offender to determine the potential risk level they may pose while at liberty within the community and this risk level is constantly reviewed to ensure its accuracy against evolving information.”
“Every breach of the legislation is fully investigated and the offender brought to justice, whenever possible. This includes cases where an offender’s whereabouts are unknown.”
The 13 sex offenders were missing as of October - the most recent available figures provided by the police.
Declining to reveal their identities, Det Ch Insp Jenkinson said: “We wouldn’t comment on individual cases unless it was for specific operational requirements.”