27 SEP 2017
Police have been accused of getting their priorities “badly wrong” after failing to alert the public about the sex offender, but issuing appeals over a stolen electrical cable and a handbag thief
Police are facing criticism after refusing to warn the public after a registered sex offender vanished weeks ago.
The convicted criminal is being hunted by officers after going missing at least three weeks ago.
But police chiefs haven’t told the public anything about the person other than they are at large somewhere in the UK.
Since the sex offender disappeared, Police Scotland have issued public appeals to find a stolen electrical cable and a missing digger, and identify a handbag thief and football fan wanted for throwing a coin at a match.
But they haven’t asked for the public’s help to find the criminal – or revealed their identity or even their gender – even though appeals can see cases cracked within hours, the Daily Record reports.
The public could be crucial in this case as detectives have been unable to track the sex offender down and are in a race against time to detain them amid fears that they could re-offend or flee the country.
Campaigner Margaret-Ann Cummings, whose son Mark, eight, was killed by a convicted paedophile in Glasgow in 2004, said: “There’s a reason why the police put out appeals to catch handbag snatchers and petty thieves – it’s because they work.
“So why is it more urgent to catch somebody who chucked a coin six months ago than a sex offender who’s on the run?
“Police Scotland have their priorities badly wrong.
“No matter how hard they work, officers can’t keep an eye on 4000 RSOs, but communities understand that and they want to help and play their part in keeping themselves safe.”
She added: “By keeping people in the dark about this sex offender, the force are eroding trust and goodwill.
“Every day this criminal is on the loose, it is putting people’s safety in danger and that is unforgiveable.
“I hope and pray they’re caught before they offend again.”
There are 3992 RSOs living in the community in Scotland.
They have to register details with police every year but must let the force know of a change of address within 72 hours.
As part of a monitoring regime, they will be visited by officers or social workers and some may have additional restrictions limiting contact with children, computers or public spaces.
A dozen RSOs are currently on a wanted list. Three went off the radar in August alone, with 11 believed to have fled abroad.
In July, it emerged that Crown Office lawyers refused Police Scotland permission to make a public appeal to catch a fugitive sex offender. He later fled abroad.
There have been several cases where the public’s help has proved invaluable in tracking down wanted sex offenders.
In 2015, teachers were warned to watch out for on-the-run paedophile Paul Vernon, who was hiding out near Oban, Argyll.
Parents knew nothing until the Daily Record published his photo. Vernon was picked up within hours thanks to a Daily Record reader’s tip-off.
A year earlier, Police Scotland were slated for waiting 11 weeks to reveal that Lorcan Halton, 45, had vanished from Glasgow.
He had previously been jailed for lewd and libidinous behaviour towards young girls and was due in court again. Halton was picked up in Cavan, Ireland, within 48 hours of the public appeal.
Following Mark Cummings’s murder, the Scottish Parliament set up a committee of MSPs to look at how sex offenders could be better managed.
They recommended in 2006 that details of on-the-run sex offenders “should be provided to local communities and made available more widely, including the use of internet websites”.
Similar systems are in use in the US and Western Australia – but not in Scotland.
Scottish Government guidance also states that, when RSOs disappear, “the matter should be treated with the appropriate urgency and seriousness” and that “all possible enquiries” should be made to trace them.
Related: Moment sex offender is snared by paedophile hunters outside Parliament
Labour’s justice spokeswoman Claire Baker said: “It is worth asking why the police won’t issue a public appeal in this case.
“Sex offenders present a risk to the public and it is vital that they are properly monitored. This situation raises concerns that must be addressed.”
Police Scotland refused to release any details about the offender. A spokesman said: “Protecting the public is a top priority.
“Releasing information in relation to an RSO where it is assessed that the threat to public safety is low would neither be justified nor proportionate.
“Such a decision is constantly reviewed throughout the course of inquiries until such time that they are apprehended or their whereabouts established.” http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/sex-offender-run-after-vanishing-11243600 https://archive.is/iINt9
AS CAN BE SEEN BELOW, THIS IS NOT THE ONLY CASE
- 20 July 2017 HIGH RISK sex beast on loose in Scotland BUT WE AINT ALLOWED TO KNOW WHO
- *FOUND* Violent Sex Offender who was on the run from Castle Huntly