Published: 00:01, 16 December 2017
Twenty convicted Kent sex predators have been removed from the offenders register because they are no longer considered a risk to the public, new figures reveal.
Nine rapists and 11 offenders guilty of indecent assault will no longer be regularly monitored after they successfully appealed that part of their punishment.
A Freedom of Information request to Kent Police revealed that, in total, 36 criminals asked to be taken off the register in the five years to July this year. The force approved 56% of requests.
People jailed for more than 30 months for a sex crime against a child or adult can be required to register with police for life under the 2003 Sexual Offences Act.
However, a ruling by the Supreme Court in 2010 allows offenders to appeal lifelong registration 15 years after they leave prison if they can prove they are reformed.
It came into operation in 2012, making individual police forces responsible for considering applications.
Across the country, almost 700 sex offenders are known to have been taken off the register up to last year, including rapists, child abusers and people convicted of taking indecent pictures of children.
None of the 20 people taken off the register in Kent have gone on to commit a sexual offence. There are more than 1,500 sex offenders on the register in the county.
A spokesman for Kent Police said: “For each successful application it was established that the level of risk posed by the individual had reduced to such a level that there was no additional benefit in terms of public protection by the respective individual continuing to be registered.
"This ability for individuals to apply to be removed from the register was brought into law in order to help focus police resources on those individuals who pose the greatest risk and should continue to be subject to registration.”
A spokesman for the Home Office said: “All decisions to release a sex offender from the notification requirements must be authorised by a senior police officer. Public safety is at the heart of all decisions taken by police.”