‘No risk from sex offenders’ says police chief

Concerns were raised after a known sex offender was spotted at Whitby's beach chalets'Picture by Gerard Binks
Concerns were raised after a known sex offender was spotted at Whitby's beach chalets'Picture by Gerard Binks

Parents have nothing to fear from sex offenders in Whitby, according to the town’s chief of police.

Despite concerns from members of the public that a known offender had re-appeared in the town upon his release from prison, Inspector Colbourne has said there are no ongoing investigations relating to sexual offences in the town.

He said: “At the end of the day there is no need to be worried about any sexual predators living in the safer neighbourhood area of Whitby. There are no outstanding offenders, there is nobody on bail, and any offenders we do have are managed through the MAPPA process.”

Over the past few weeks parents in the town have raised their concerns on the Whitby Gazette’s Facebook page about their children coming into contact with a known offender.

However, Insp Colbourne explained that a large multi-agency system is in place to help protect the public.

Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements are schemes that see North Yorkshire Police work alongside HM Prison Service and the probation service - set to be nationalised at the end of this week. The three collaborate to ensure the risk to the public is minimised, while giving the offender the best chance for rehabilitation back into society.

“In people’s minds it’s always ‘we have got a rapist on the loose’,” explained Insp Colbourne. “But that’s not always the case. So in order to effectively manage risk we put them into categories.”

Offenders are classified low, medium and high risk, with varying levels of supervision assigned to individual cases.

Insp Colbourne added: “I would say that any sex offenders we have got in this community as a whole are managed on a partnership approach and the systems we have got in place are very robust.”

Part of the risk management process includes regular contact with the local police force, which usually includes home visits.

Where the individual is homeless, an alternative location can be arranged. This can be the police station or even a bus station or public area, such as Pannett Park.

As with any issue relating to crime across Whitby, Insp Colbourne said the best chance of catching any people who may commit a crime is through suspicious activity being reported by residents. He said: “If members of the public are aware of us having a sex offender who is acting suspiciously, they need to report it to us so we can take appropriate action.”