The team of people who help to protect the Northamptonshire public from paedophiles rarely receive any publicity or recognition for their work.
But in an exclusive interview with the Chronicle & Echo, Detective Sergeant Gan Thayanithy, head of the Dangerous Persons Management Unit (DPMU), has explained how his staff work round the clock to ensure people living in the county are safe from convicted sexual offenders.
The DPMU is made up of a group of 16 people who are responsible for monitoring the movements and behaviour of people convicted of sexual offences or crimes such as murder or grievous bodily harm.
Mr Thayanithy said most of his team’s work involves sexual offenders who have been given a suspended prison sentence or released from custody on licence. He said: “Studies have shown that the people who have been identified as having a desire to commit sexual offences, not just against children but adults as well, are more likely to be re-convicted and they have got traits in common that allow us to assess what risk they are.
“Once we have done the assessment and understand what risk they are we then make sure we have the right intervention in place.
“Part of that is going round to do home visits. There are other parts of it as well. We make sure we apply for court orders with strong conditions, we work with the probation service.
“We also carry out address checks to establish who is living in that area. If we find the address is unsuitable as there are any vulnerable children living nearby we will look for somewhere else.”
Mr Thayanithy said his team’s first priority was always about ensuring the safety of the public rather than the wishes of the convicted criminal. He said: “One of our jobs is to make sure the public does not have to worry about sex offenders, We try and keep ourselves out of the news as we don’t want people going round all day worrying about their children.
“We worry about them on their behalf and we try to target sex offenders. But there are always going to be people who are not happy with how things are, saying they should be locked up forever.”
Mr Thayanithy said the frequency of visits a sex offender would receive would depend upon the level of risk they had been identified as posing to the public. A very high risk person would receive a visit every month, a high risk person would be visited every three months, a medium risk person every six months and a low risk person every year.
Staff from the DPMU can also carry out more frequent visits if they have information that sex offender’s circumstances may have changed, increasing their risk to the public.
Sex Offenders’ list goes up 5% each year
The number of people on the Sexual Offenders’ Register in Northamptonshire goes up by an average of five percent every year, the head of the DPMU said.
Detective Sergeant Gan Thayanithy said, due to the fact those convicted of the most serious sexual offences such as rape were placed on the register for life, the overall total increased every year.
He said: “The number of sex offenders increases every year, simply because when a sex offender is convicted, the minimum time they can go on the sex offender register, even for a police caution, is for two years. People that get more than a 30 month prison sentence go on the register for the rest of their lives so it is only going to get bigger. Ordinarily there is between a five and seven per cent increase in sex offenders on the list every year.”
Mr Thayanithy said his team, which currently includes 12 officers, two sergeants and two police staff, was also growing and this had been helped by funding allocated by Police and Crime Commissioner Adam Simmonds to monitor those convicted of Child Sexual Exploitation offences.
Convicted paedophiles download abuse images days after conviction
A number of convicted paedophiles in Northamptonshire were sent to prison within two weeks of being given a suspended sentence after they were found to have downloaded indecent image of children, the head of the Dangerous Persons Management Unit (DPMU) said.
Detective Sergeant Gan Thayanithy said the DPMU carried out a home visit to all people convicted of a sexual offence within 14 days of them receiving a suspended sentence or being released from prison to check they were abiding with the terms of their licence.
Mr Thayanithy said the visit included a search of the internet history on all computer devices and a number of offenders were found to have downloaded indecent images of children within days of being convicted.
He said: “There are several cases where, in days of a conviction, we’ve gone round unannounced to do a visit we’ve looked at the person’s computer and found indecent images, so within days of sentence they are people who have downloaded further indecent images of children.
“For even simple breaches of notification of requirements such as not telling us about a temporary address they stay at, people have gone to prison for 12 weeks.