Sex Offender Registration Information

This page is intended to address some of the questions and concerns surrounding the issue of Sex Offender Registration.

Whether you are subject to the requirements yourself, have a friend or family member who is subject to the requirements, have a professional interest in the requirements or are just wanting further information, the information below should answer some of your questions.

 

How does someone become a Registerable Sex Offender?

To become liable to Sex Offender Registration requirements a person is simply convicted of a qualifying offence at Court. There is no application made to the court for the requirements to be applied and their inclusion on the register is not subject to the Judge or Magistrates discretion. 

The list of offences which place a person on the Sex Offender Register is contained within the Sexual Offences Act 2003 and is called Schedule 3. This list is extensive and contains a wide variety of offences including indecent exposure, rape, possessing indecent photographs of a child, sexual assault and meet a child following sexual grooming, to name just a few. 

Some offences, such as rape and sexual activity with a child when committed by an adult will automatically result in registration requirements. Others may require a certain sentence length, for example an offence of sexual assault committed by an adult on another adult will require a sentence of 12 months community order or any term of imprisonment including suspended imprisonment to become liable to register.

The period an individual is subject of the registration requirements is dependent on the sentence imposed by the court. 

For extended sentences, the original sentence plus the extended sentence is the length of sentence for the purpose of registration.

Offences which carry an automatic registration requirement also result in a person accepting a caution for that offence becoming liable to register for two years, or one year if aged under 18 years.

 

What does Sex Offender Registration mean?

Being on the register does not place any restrictions or prohibitions on an individual. It means only that they must notify Police of certain information, a guide to which can be found below. 

The requirements are the same for all individuals liable to register regardless of the nature of the offence they were convicted of at Court.

Every person liable to registration requirements will have an officer assigned to them from the Public Protection Unit, in the area in which they reside. The assigned officer may be a plain clothes police officer or police staff member. Their role is to risk assess and manage the person to protect others and also reduce the likelihood of future re-offending. This is conducted in a number of ways  including unannounced home visits, discussions with external services involved with an individual/family, along with other intelligence gathering means.

 

What details are required to be registered?

A person subject to registration requirements is required to register:

  1. Their name and any other names, be they alias names, new names as per Deed Poll, names used on social media, gamer tags or any other name they can be identified by.
     
  2. Their address. The address at which they reside. If a person is homeless, often referred to as No Fixed abode (NFA) then they should register the  fact that they are of no fixed abode and also a place where they may be found.
     
  3. Any other address at which they stay for seven days a year or more. This can be on one occasion, for example a cottage or caravan at the seaside for a holiday or two weeks in alternative accommodation due to flooding at their address. In these cases, we would refer to it as a temporary address. Or it could be that the individual stops on occasional days for example staying at a partner’s or parent’s address at weekends. Legally the individual MUST register this address within three days of the seventh day of their stay. We would refer to this as an occasional address.
     
  4. Any household or private place the individual stays or resides at for 12 hours or more and where there is a child also resides or stays. The notification can be made in advance or it can be made within three days of the event taking place. NB this also includes the registered address as per point 2 above. So, if the individual, who normally does not reside with a child has any child at his address for 12 hours or more they must register that event within three days of it taking place
     
  5. Their passport, driving licence or immigration identity card details if held.
     
  6. Any bank accounts, credit/debit cards, post office accounts, savings accounts including ISAs or bonds they hold. Basically, any funds the offender has access to, including business and joint accounts, although there is no requirement to furnish details of who the other person/people on the account are.
     
  7. National Insurance number.

 

How and when to register

To register these details the individual is required to attend IN PERSON at a PRESCRIBED police station. Please note that not all Police stations in West Yorkshire are prescribed police stations.

  • If the individual is notifying their main address or annually re-notifying their details this must be done in the Force area in which they reside, however it does not have to be the same district, the individual may prefer to travel to another Police station within the same Force area. 
  • If the individual is notifying an additional address, they can register it in either the Force area they reside or the Force area that covers the additional address.
  • If the individual is notifying foreign travel, they can register at any prescribed Police station in the UK.


You can find out which Force area an address is situated in on the Police.uk website.

The prescribed Police stations for West Yorkshire are listed below:

  • Bradford District HQ, Trafalgar House, Nelson Street, Bradford, BD5 0EW
  • Calderdale District HQ, Richmond Road, Halifax, HX1 6TW
  • Dewsbury Police Station, Aldams Road, Dewsbury, WF12 8AP
  • Huddersfield Police Station, Castlegate, Huddersfield, HD1 8AP
  • Leeds District HQ, Elland Road, Leeds, LS11 8BU
  • Wakefield District HQ, Havertop Lane, Normanton, WF6 1GX

Previously, the list of prescribed Police stations was contained within the Sexual Offences Act 2003, however under the Police Crime and Sentencing Bill introduced in 2022 It became the responsibility of each Force area to clearly publish a list of their prescribed police stations so a good place to start may be the relevant Force website.

A person subject to registration requirements must register or re-register ALL details: 

  • within three days of becoming liable to register (initial registration) 
  • within three days of release from any term of imprisonment 
  • within three days of ANY change to ANY details as above and, 
  • if there has been no change within 12 months, they must re-register ALL their details above every year. 

It is important to note that the legislation counts the day of conviction/release/change as the first day, so a person convicted on a Monday has Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to register, after that an offence of breach of registration requirement is committed.

In addition, a person who is registered as homeless or No Fixed Abode (NFA) must re-register every seven days and include a place where they can be found until such time as he or she registers an address.

The Sexual Offences Act 2003 also gives police the power to take the person’s fingerprints and photograph when they make a notification at a Police station for identification purposes if required.

When attending to register it is important that the person confirms all the registerable details including all the addresses as per points three and four above with the person at the Police station who is completing the form. They must also be satisfied that the form has been completed with the correct details. A copy of the registration form will be offered to the person registering. 

Ultimately the legislation places the responsibility for compliance with the registration details upon the person who is subject to the notification requirements.
A person commits an offence if they fail to comply with the Sex Offender Registration requirements or provides false information. This may be punishable by up to five years imprisonment

 

How are the details held?

Information provided under notification will be recorded on ViSOR; the database used to store and manage information obtained as a result of a notification requirement. Some reduced details will also be recorded on other Police systems such as the Police National Computer and local Police information systems, however this will not include sensitive information such as bank account details.  All data is processed in accordance with Data Protection Act 1998.

Data protection is taken very seriously, and Police are required to comply with existing laws and procedures as to how this information may be handled and used (including under Data Protection and the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984). Additionally, there are robust arrangements in place in relation to data security on ViSOR. This includes strict physical and technical security requirements to ensure the data remains secure. Those individuals who have access to the database are also subject to heightened vetting standards.

 

What if any details change?

If any of the details listed above change, the individual must attend a prescribed Police station as above and register that change within three days. This includes changes to financial account details such as being issued a new debit or credit card (including replacement bank cards) or closing an account.

Notification of changes can be made in advance, for example, if a person knows the dates they are going to stay in a holiday cottage or if they know they will stay at a partner’s address for more than seven days they do not need to wait until the seven days has occurred, they can make that notification in advance.

Advanced notification of a change of address may also be made however it may be best to exercise caution as, if the move takes place either more than two days before or three days later than originally notified a new registration must be made within six days of the originally anticipated move date. Also, as above, the registration of a new home address can only be made in the Police Force area where that address is located.

 

When is an annual re-registration made?

If no notification of change of details has occurred within the last 12 months the person subject to registration requirements must attend at a prescribed Police station and reconfirm all their registerable details. This is often called annual or periodic notification and it is the individual’s responsibility to know when this is.

The annual notification date will change if new or different information is notified as above. 

The annual or periodic registration must be made before the end of the 12 month period since the previous notification was given, but can be given at any point in advance. So, for example, if a change of address takes place on 10st June the annual registration must take place before the end of the 9th June the following year. However, if a further change is registered, such as a new bank card being issued, on say 10th December, then the annual re-registration date is reset and becomes before 9th December.

 

What about travelling abroad?

If a person is subject to sex offender register requirements it does not mean they cannot travel abroad. However, they must register the details of the travel with the Police at least seven days in advance. 

The details required to be registered are as follows: 

  • Date of departure from UK 
  • Destination(s) including airport and airline details 
  • Accommodation arrangements

It is a legal requirement that persons subject to Sex Offender Registration notify their travel plans seven days before departure UNLESS the details are not known at that time. If an individual has to make last minute plans to travel outside the country then they must notify them at least 12 hours before departure. 

When registering foreign travel the individual does not have to notify Police of the date when they are returning to the UK, but if they do not notify this when registering travel they will be required to re-register within three days of their return to the UK. Similarly, if an individual does notify a return date and then, for whatever reason, does not return on that date, they will also be required to re-register upon their return. These re-registrations should be completed as per an annual re-registration. 

Generally registering foreign travel does not affect the annual re-registration date unless the person has been required to make a full re-registration upon return as above.

 

Going in and out of hospital or prison

Whilst a person who is subject to registration requirements is either detained in prison or admitted to hospital, the registration requirements are suspended. 

A person who is detained in prison (not police custody following an arrest) must notify within three days of release from prison, regardless of where they are residing, this includes if they are returning to their previous address. If they have no address they must attend and register as No Fixed Abode within three days.  

A person who has been in hospital is not required to re-register if they are returning to their previous address unless their annual re-registration date has passed. They are however required to register if they are released to an alternative address, this includes an interim care facility or care home.  The exception to this is a person who has been detained in hospital as part of their sentence for an offence, commonly referred to as a hospital order. In these cases, the registration requirements are the same as those for release from prison.

 

What is a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO)?

SHPOs can be used to place prohibitions on an individual in cases where the individual has a previous sexual conviction and where the Court is satisfied that the risk posed by that individual requires restrictions on behaviour to prevent further sexual offending.

With the passing of the Police Crime and Sentencing Bill in 2022 there will also be the ability to place certain positive obligations of the individual as well as restrictions.

There are two types of SHPO:

  • Criminal or bolt on SHPOs are the first and most common. These are applied for at point of sentence or conviction for a sexual offence in a criminal court.
  • Civil SHPOs are applied for by the Police to the Magistrates’ Court sitting in its civil capacity. These do not involve any criminal proceedings.

The implications of being subject to a SHPO are not just that a person has to abide by the terms of the order but also that whilst subject to a SHPO they will also become liable to Sex Offender Registration requirements.

Other notable things about SHPOs are: 

  • A person can only be subject to one SHPO at a time, this includes their predecessor, Sexual Offence Prevention Orders (SOPOs)
  • The minimum term for a SHPO is five years but they can be made to last indefinitely
  • A person subject to a SHPO cannot apply for a review of their indefinite registration requirements

This means that an order cannot be discharged within five years of it being made without the agreement of both parties.  An application for variation may be made by ether the person subject to the order or by the Police during this time. 

Breach of the conditions of a SHPO is a criminal offence and is punishable by up to five years imprisonment.

 

What is a Sexual Risk Order?

A Sexual Risk Order (SRO) is a civil order which can be sought by the Police against an individual who has not been convicted, cautioned etc. of any offence but who is nevertheless thought to pose a risk of harm.

It is similar to a SHPO in that it imposes restrictions on an individual with the intention of managing that risk of harm, and the Police Crime and Sentencing Bill 2022 will permit the ability to place certain positive obligations on the individual as well. 

An SRO differs from a SHPO in that it does NOT make the individual subject to registration requirements. It only requires the individual to notify the Police of their name and address (this information must be updated and notified to the Police within three days if it changes at any point) while the order has effect. 

The minimum duration for a full order is two years.

Breach of the conditions of an SRO is a criminal offence and is punishable by up to five years imprisonment. It is also a registerable offence and makes the individual a Registerable Sex Offender for the duration of the order.

 

How and when to request an Indefinite registration review

If an individual has been made subject to indefinite notification requirements, they have the right to make an application for a review of those indefinite notification requirements. 

A person subject to indefinite registration requirements is eligible to seek a review 15 years from the date of their first notification following release from prison for the offence which made them liable to register. If the individual was under 18 years old on the date of their conviction, this period is reduced to eight years.

To make an application for a review to West Yorkshire Police the individual only needs to request the relevant form from their local public protection unit, assigned officer or Police public enquiry counter (the form is called a 78d). 

The application can only be made to the Police Force covering the area they are recorded as residing or staying in, in accordance with their most recent notification to the Police. If the Individual is recorded in more than one Force area, they should apply to the Chief Constable of the area they have spent most time in during the twelve months immediately preceding the date of their application. 

The whole process should take no longer than 10 weeks and the decision will be given in writing. 

In cases where the review decision is that the person should remain subject to registration requirements the individual has a right to appeal the Force's decision and must appeal within 21 days to a Magistrates’ Court. This appeal is at their own expense, no Legal Aid is available.

If after review, and any appeal, the individual remains subject of notification requirements they cannot reapply for another review for a minimum of eight years.

There may be circumstances in which a relevant offender lacks the mental or physical capacity to apply for a review of the indefinite notification requirements without assistance. Such a scenario could include, for example, where the offender has dementia, a learning disability or is physically incapacitated. Where an offender has capacity to decide they want a review but would struggle to complete the application process (and there is no lasting power of attorney), they may wish to seek assistance. This could be sought from friends or family members or through independent legal advice.

Please note:  A person subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) or its predecessor SOPO, must apply to the Court to discharge the SHPO prior to making an application for a review of notification requirements. If you require further information on how to discharge a SHPO, it is recommended that you seek independent legal advice.

 

Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme (CSODS) 

The Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme (CSODS), whilst not law, is often referred to as Sarah’s Law. The scheme gives members of the public – whether they are a parent, carer, guardian or another interested party – a formal mechanism to make enquiries about individuals who are in contact with children.

If Police checks show that the individual has a record for child sexual offences, or other offences that might put the child at risk, the Police will consider sharing this information with the person(s) best placed to protect the child, usually the parent, carer or guardian.  

Any person can make an application about a person (the subject) who has some form of contact with a child/children. Therefore, the applicant could be a grandparent, neighbour or friend. This is to ensure any safeguarding concerns are thoroughly investigated. 

Once an application is submitted, the police will conduct initial checks and make contact with the requester to arrange a face to face meeting. This is to establish further information, for example more details about the subject and for the requestor to provide proof of identity.

Any disclosure will only be made to the parent, guardian or carer best placed to protect the child or children. Any third party making the application would not necessarily receive disclosure if they were not best placed to protect the child or children.

If there is no disclosure to be made the requester will also be notified of the outcome.

If there is immediate or imminent risk of harm to the child, this will be dealt with urgently. If there is no immediate risk, the whole process will be complete within 45 days, unless it is extended due to exceptional circumstances.

The person who is told about the convictions is not allowed to tell anyone else. 

The police are aware of the risk to potential repercussions if information about those convicted of a sex offence is widely available. The individual may or may not be told that a disclosure of their convictions has been made. In some situations, they may be invited to disclose the information themselves. 
If there is a risk to a child, that child may be referred to social services.

For more information about Sarah’s Law please visit the Sarah’s Law webpage.

 

The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (Clare’s Law)

The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (Clare’s Law) allows the police to disclose information about a person who has a history of domestic violence and abuse to their current partner or ex-partner.  This information will allow them to make an informed choice about their relationship. This may affect some people convicted of a sex offence as the Home Office Guidance contains a list of offences which may be disclosed. It includes rape, sexual assault and sexual activity with a child. 

Anybody has a right to ask the police about their partner or ex-partner’s history of domestic abuse if they have concerns, or applications can also be made by other people, such as concerned family members or friends. The process works in a similar way to the CSODS; a face to face meeting will be held with the applicant and any information held by the Police will be discussed with other agencies to see whether the information should be disclosed.  Information about sexual convictions may be disclosed.  

When an individual is subject to Sex Offender Registration, the Police may decide that their partner or ex-partner has a right to know about their domestic abuse history. Again, this will be discussed with other agencies and the information will be disclosed to their partner or ex-partner to allow them to make an informed choice about their relationship.  

For more information about Clare’s Law please visit the Clare’s Law webpage.

 

Where can I seek advice or discuss any concerns I have? 

  • The Lucy Faithfull Foundation (LFF) 
    A child protection charity which works with people who have sexually harmed or fear they may harm a child. They also work with all those affected by offending. Their Family and Friends Get Help website is a site for wives, partners, parents, all adult family members and friends of people who have been known or suspected of accessing indecent images of children or engaging in other inappropriate sexual behaviours involving children. www.lucyfaithfull.org.uk
     
    The Lucy Faithfull Foundation (LFF) also run a Stop it Now! confidential helpline for anyone with concerns around child sexual abuse: 0808 1000 900. The helpline is available from 9.00am - 9.00pm Monday to Thursdays and 9.00am - 5.00pm Fridays. Further information on Stop it Now! Visit: www.stopitnow.org.uk
     
  • StopSO
    StopSO is a charity which works with potential sex offenders, sex offenders and their families to provide therapy, support and supervision. Their aim is to prevent sexual offences being committed Website: https://stopso.org.uk
     
  • Childline
    Children can contact Childline on 0800 111 for free and confidential advice or visit: www.childline.org.uk 
     
  • Unlock
    Unlock offers information, advice, training and advocacy, dealing with the ongoing effects of criminal convictions. Their website contains helpful information, particularly in relation to opening bank accounts and offering access to insurance. Website: http://unlock.org.uk
     
  • Relate 
    Counselling, sex therapy and relationship education for couples. Website: www.relate.org.uk
     
  • Safer Lives
    The core service of Safer Lives is the Safer Lives Programme that supports people during Police investigation. They also offer consultations to partners and family members of people under investigation for online sexual offences. Website www.saferlives.com
     
  • Samaritans
    The Samaritans are available for everyone, no matter what they are going through. Their help is confidential and available 24/7 365 days a year. Visit www.samaritans.org
     
  • Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARC)
    A Sexual Assault Referral Centre provides services to victims or survivors of rape or sexual assault regardless of whether the survivor or victim chooses to report the offence to the Police or not. Your local SARC can be found online. Visit the NHS for information regarding SARCs : www.nhs.uk/live-well/sexual-health/help-after-rape-and-sexual-assault/
     
  • Your Local GP
    In terms of your own personal health and wellbeing, your GP should be able to assist you in the first instance. If you need other specialist help, your GP will be able to refer you to the relevant support. We understand that crimes of this nature may be uncomfortable to discuss, however GPs are bound by rules of confidentiality. Find your local GP here.
     
  • NSPCC
    Information on child protection systems: The NSPCC has information on child protection systems and laws for each of the UK’s 4 nations. This covers most aspects of safeguarding and child protection. Website: https://learning.nspcc.org.uk/child-protection-system
     
  • Citizens Advice
    Citizens Advice offer free advice online, over the phone, and in person. For more information visit: www.citizensadvice.org.uk
     
  • Internet Watch Foundation (IWF)  
    This organisation encourages anonymous reporting of child sexual abuse content and nonphotographic child sexual abuse images visit: www.iwf.org.uk
     
  • CrimeStoppers 
    Should you wish to report a crime anonymously, by telephoning CrimeStoppers on 0800 555111 or visit: www.crimestoppers-uk
     

Further information

Guidance on Sexual Offences Act 2003  - publishing.service.gov.uk (PDF)

 

 

Page last reviewed August 2022.

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