Newham second-highest for sex offender levels in London
- Credit: Archant
Newham has the second-highest number of registered sex offenders in London, the Recorder can exclusively reveal.
The latest figures, obtained through a Freedom of Information request by this paper, show there are 360 registered sex offenders in the borough, more than double the number in neighbouring Barking and Dagenham, with only Croydon higher at 362.
Reacting to the figures, children’s charity the NSPCC said they would be “alarming” for the local community to hear, adding: “Around half of those on the register will have committed sexual offences against children, both online and offline.”
The charity stressed the importance of monitoring offenders to “make sure they don’t pose a risk”, something the Met said it takes very seriously.
“We manage sex offenders so well that even if there’s the slightest degree of concern, we’re out there and we’re dealing with it,” said Det Ch Insp Neil Matthews. “It’s all about protecting the public.”
He added that taking the combined population of the four boroughs with the highest numbers of sex offenders (including Lewisham with 356 and Lambeth with 335) the percentage of sex offenders was only about 0.1 per cent.
Nonetheless, concerns over safety have come to the fore again in recent months. Not least with the case of mum-of-three Sarah Sands – jailed in September for killing convicted paedophile Michael Pleasted.
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At the time of his death, Pleasted was on bail, awaiting trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court on charges of sexual assault against two children aged under 13. He had 24 previous convictions for child sex offences, dating from 1971 to 1990.
Builder Carl Shaw, who lives two floors below the flat where Pleasted was killed, said that while the register was a “good idea”, he thought more information should be made public.
“Those 360 people could all be in a single tower block for all we know – no-one knows who or where they are,” he said. “If they are convicted of a violent assault, they should be named and shamed.”
In many situations, the offence can leave deep scars and take the victim years to come to terms with what’s happened.
One victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has spoken to the Recorder following the conviction of his attacker, Imam Qazi Masud Alam, 69, of Milton Avenue, Manor Park, in May this year.
Alam was given a 22-week jail term for indecently assaulting his victim, then just 16, in December 1986.
“People should be told if there is someone on the sex offenders register living on their road,” said the dad-of-four. “My kids play outside in the summer – how do you know they are safe?”
While naming and shaming remains a hotly-disputed issue, and one not supported in law outside of the reporting of court cases, there is a way for parents to find out if someone who has access to their child has a record for child sexual offences.
Known as the Child Sex Offenders Disclosure (CSOD) scheme,or Sarah’s Law, the ruling came into force in 2011 after the savage murder of eight-year-old Sarah Payne by convicted sex offender Roy Whiting the same year.
Since it was introduced four years ago, police in Newham have only dealt with six requests – four requiring further action.