Who is liable for registration?
Specific offences trigger off liability for registration on the Sex Offenders Register. Those could be found listed in Schedule 3 of the Sex Offences Act 2003. The prescribed offences include rape, intercourse with girl under 13, buggery, indecent assault, unlawful sexual intercourse, indecent conduct towards young child and offences relating to indecent photographs of children etc.
It is important to note that the obligation to register is not imposed only on those convicted but also on anyone who has received a caution for any one of the offences appearing on the list.
What are the requirements?
If a person is convicted of any of the offences listed in the Schedule above, he subsequently becomes under an obligation to notify the police of his:
Date of birth;
National insurance number;
Name on the relevant date;
Home address on the relevant date;
Name on the date notification is given (if different);
Home address on date notification is given;
The address of any other premises in the United Kingdom at which, at the time notification is given, he regularly resides or stays;
Any prescribed information.
Under the last heading prescribed information means prescribed by regulations made by the Secretary of State.
Time for compliance
This initial step needs to be done within three days of conviction. Further, the duty is a continuous one. Therefore, any subsequent changes of the person’s name and address etc. need to be registered with the police within 14 days of the change taking place.
Conviction of a listed offence automatically entails the liability to register. Therefore, there is no requirement on the person passing a sentence to issue a separate order for registration.
Nevertheless, the courts should continue a practice of informing the offenders of any notification requirements. However, when such guidance is given, it should be done in a way as to be clear that it does not form a part of the sentence.
Notification requirements for travel outside the UK
Further, there are specific provisions requiring persons on the register to give notification before leaving the UK. This includes for the provision of information about the person’s travel.
The offender needs to produce details about the date on which he is leaving, the country to which he is to travel and the point of arrival there.
Additionally, the provisions require for further notification after the offender’s return.
All those requirements have been found compatible with right to free movement of people within territory of the EU member states.
Failure to comply with the requirements
Failure to comply with the registration requirements, if found to be unreasonable, could also constitute an offence.
The formalities relating to that offence are contained in section 91 of the Act. Further, it provides that a person found guilty on summary conviction could be liable for imprisonment of up to 6 months or a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or both. Alternatively, if the conviction is on indictment, the offender may be liable for a term of imprisonment not exceeding 5 years.
Duration of the duty
Once the offender becomes liable to register, the notification duties related with such course of action continue for a period of time. The timeframes could vary from a small period of a conditional discharge to effectively the rest of the offender’s life. The length is established in accordance with the type of sentence imposed and its length.
In the most serious cases, a person who is sentenced to imprisonment for life or imprisonment for public protection under section 225 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 or for imprisonment of a term of 30 months or more is subject to notification requirements for an indefinite period.
Where the offender is sentenced to imprisonment for a term of more than 6 months but less than 30 months, the notification period is 10 years. Whenever custodial sentence imposed is less than 6 months, the period for compliance is 7 years from the date of conviction.
Where a person has been cautioned in respect of an offence appearing on the Schedule then the notification requirements last for 2 years following the caution.
If the offender has been conditionally discharged he is required to comply with the register for the period of the discharge.