Information sharing arrangements relating to sex offenders

Home Office circular 036 / 2006

Information sharing arrangements relating to sex offenders

  • Broad subject: Crime and Disorder
  • Issue date: Tue Nov 28 00:00:00 GMT 2006
  • From:
    Crime Reduction and Community Safety Group (CRCSG) - Crime and Drugs Strategy Directorate, Violent Crime Unit (VCU)
  • Linked circulars:
    No Linked Circulars
  • Copies sent to:
    Association of Chief Police Officers of England, Wales and Northern Ireland, Association of Chief Police Officers of Scotland, The Scottish Executive, The Northern Ireland Office
  • Sub category: Sex offences
  • Implementation date: Mon Nov 27 00:00:00 GMT 2006
  • For more info contact:
    Alastair Noble - 020 7035 1761
  • Addressed to:
    Chief Police Officers in England and Wales, Chief Police Officers in Scotland, Chief Police Officers in Northern Ireland

Information sharing arrangements relating to sex offenders

The United Kingdom has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Republic of Ireland relating to the exchange of information on registered sex offenders who intend to travel between the two states. It is effective from 27th November 2006.

Notification Requirements and Foreign Travel 

Offenders who are subject to the notification requirements of part 2 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 must notify the police, 7 days in advance, of an intention to travel overseas for a period of 3 days or more (the relevant legislation is section 86 of the Sexual offences Act 2003 and Statutory Instrument no. 1220 of 2004. Further guidance on how this applies is given in the Home Office’s publication; Guidance on Part 2 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 which is available at http://www.crimereduction.gov.uk/sexual/sexual027a.pdf).

An Offender must notify the following information:

  • the date of departure from the UK
  • the destination country (or, if there is more than one, the first) and the point of arrival in that country
  • his point(s) of arrival in any countries he will be visiting in addition to the initial destination
  • the carrier(s) he intends to use to leave and return to the UK or any other point(s) of arrival while he is outside the United Kingdom (but not internal flights)
  • details of his accommodation arrangements for his first night outside the United Kingdom
  • his date of re-entry to the United Kingdom
  • his point of arrival on his return to the United Kingdom

Offenders registered in the Republic of Ireland must inform the Garda of an intention to travel abroad for more than seven days. They must notify the address of the place at which they intend to reside, as well as their name, date of birth and home address.

Effect and Purposes of Memorandum

Under the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding police forces in the UK will inform the Garda in the Republic of Ireland when an offender notifies them of his intention to travel there. When an offender notifies the Garda of an intention to travel to the United Kingdom the Garda will notify the UK police.

Information will be exchanged through three points of contact, the National Central Bureau for Interpol for England, Wales and Scotland, the Police Service of Northern Ireland for Northern Ireland and An Garda Síochána for Ireland.

Information exchanged under this understanding must only be used for the specified purposes of the memorandum and only by the authorities with a statutory duty to pursue those purposes. The purposes are:

  • The protection of the public from the risks presented by sex offenders
  • The investigation of serious sexual offences

Information exchanged under this memorandum is to be treated as confidential.

Procedures for Forces in England, Wales and Scotland to Notify Republic of Ireland

When police in England, Wales and Scotland are notified of an offender’s intention to travel to the Republic of Ireland they should:

  • Inform the offender that police in the Republic of Ireland will be notified of his intention to travel there, as a matter of routine
  • Unless the matter is urgent (see paragraph 10), communicate the notification to Interpol through the force’s International Liaison Officer, using the standard International Enquiry form, by e-mail to london@soca.x.gsi.gov.uk

If a force receives intelligence that a dangerous offender is to travel within 24 hours or has already travelled to the Republic of Ireland they should communicate this to Interpol directly using the standard International Enquiry form or a correctly graded intelligence log and by phoning 020 72388115 to confirm receipt.

As a matter of practice it is important that forces notifying Interpol supply a photo of the offender to assist police in the Republic of Ireland in identifying the offender.

Procedure for Police in Northern Ireland to Notify Republic of Ireland

Police in Northern Ireland should follow the protocol set out in the Agreement for Sharing of Personal Information that has been developed between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Action to Prevent an Offender Travelling to Republic of Ireland

If an offender has been convicted of an offence in schedule 3 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 where the victim was under 16 or other offences specified in section 116 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 and there is evidence that he would present a risk to children in the Republic of Ireland it is possible to apply for a Foreign Travel Order to stop him travelling to the Republic of Ireland, or other countries if this is necessary, (see Guidance on Part 2 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 at http://www.crimereduction.gov.uk/sexual/sexual027a.pdf for further guidance).

Receiving a Notification from Republic of Ireland

If an offender in the Republic of Ireland notifies the Garda of an offender’s intention to travel to the United Kingdom this will be communicated to An Garda Síochána who will pass the information to the National Central Bureau for Interpol or the Police Service of Northern Ireland. Interpol or the Police Service of Northern Ireland will then be responsible for informing the force(s) in the area(s) to which the offender intends to travel.

If an offender from the Republic of Ireland is travelling to the UK and intending to reside on a long-term basis the police may consider it necessary to apply for a notification order. Such an order makes an offender who has committed a sexual offence abroad subject to the same notification requirements that would apply if that offender had offended in the UK. (see Guidance on Part 2 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 which is available at http://www.crimereduction.gov.uk/sexual/sexual027a.pdf.)

Breach of Notification Requirements

If a UK registered offender fails to notify police of an intention to travel he is in breach of the notification requirements. This is an arrestable offence and police should consider whether a charge should be pursued.

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