Essex: Six registered sex offenders have disappeared without trace

SIX registered sex offenders from Essex are among nearly 850 nationally who police are unable to trace, according to the latest figures.

A leading counselling service for sex abuse victims has said the situation should serve as a “wake-up call” for the Government as it indicates the current system is broken and needs to be overhauled.

A spokesman for Essex Police said: “There are six sex offenders registered in Essex who are currently missing, with five known to have left the UK.

“We know what countries they are in and they have yet to establish specific addresses.

“The force is actively seeking each one who’s exact whereabouts are unknown.”

Malcolm Gilbert, operations director for Family Matters, which counsels around 1,000 sex victims a year in Kent and south-east London, believes changes need to be made to the monitoring system.

His call came after figures from the National Policing Improvement Agency showed 843 offenders are missing nationally.

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Mr Gilbert said: “It is not the first time I have heard these sort of figures.

“We have a system in place where we put people on the Sex Offenders’ Register and we must think they are dangerous. Therefore you might think it’s important enough for them to be registered.

“Then we seem not to do any more than that, so it’s just a register. It seems to me that if we think they are problem offenders we have to police this register properly and resourcefully.”

Mr Gilbert added in his experience victims can become frightened when offenders go missing, with some being fearful their attacker will come back to stalk them.