Police power to disclose offences

Does anyone know whether the police have the power to disclose the convictions of an offender to neighbours etc. where the offender was convicted prior to 1996 and is ,therefore, not subject to the Sex Offender’s register? Would they need to get a SHPO?

The guidance is as follows:
The Home Office Guidance on Part 2 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 describes the legislation as ‘partially retrospective’. This means that people who were convicted of a relevant offence before 1 September 1997 will not be subject to the requirements UNLESS, at the beginning of 1 September 1997, one of the following applies:

  • They were still serving a sentence of imprisonment for the offence.
  • They were subject to a community order for the offence.
  • They were subject to supervision following release from prison for the relevant offence.
  • They had not been dealt with in respect of the offence.
  • They were detained in a hospital after conviction for the offence.
  • They were subject to a guardianship order after conviction for the offence.
  • They would have been subject to one of the above but they were unlawfully at large, absent without leave or on bail pending an appeal.

If any of the above apply, the person would still be subject to notification requirements even if they were convicted of the offence before it came into force.

For example, if you were convicted before 1 September 1997 but were still in prison or on licence for this offence on this date, then you would be subject to notification requirements after you are released.

If you were convicted before 1 September 1997 but not sentenced until after this date you would also be subject to notification requirements after release.

Note that offences relevant to these requirements are those listed in Schedule 3 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

So the question in some respects is down to whether the offence is listed in schedule 3 if not covered by the other clauses.

Thanks Anthony. I had also come to that conclusion but, strangely, MAPPA have said that the reason they want a SHPO (it is the same case) is that he is not subject to the SOR, as conviction was prior to 1986.

If he is subject to disclosure rules can you tell me how, in practice, to challenge a decision to disclose?

If the question is can the police disclose without an SHPO or SOR obligation. I cannot envisage a set of circumstances that would justify such an action.
The conditions attached to the SHPO can be whatever the magistrate permits, and is within the law. It will also involve the SOR requirement. That does mean disclosure.
Can you appeal the specific provisions of the SHPO. I don’t think so although you could make a plea at the hearing. You obviously could argue that there is no basis for the SHRO.
Have I understood the question properly

Thanks Anthony. The SHPO has been adjourned until after the tribunal. I think that MAPPA are incorrect and that he is, in fact, subject to SOR rules. My question, therefore, is what powers the police have to disclose under SOR and how/whether their decisions could be challenged?

Are you familiar with HoC briefing paper 5267 (Registration and Management of Sex Offenders)?

Can i assume that MAPPA are seeking a notification order? In which case the appeal would be to the Crown Court.

There are notification requirements but I cannot see that the police would have disclosure powers beyond that statutorily defined.

You can challenge the police request to the magistrate for a notification order but if you accept the person is subject to the SRO then any challenge would be vitiated. Should MAPPA wish to categorise the person as subject to a disqualification order and subject to a risk management plan at level 3 you should be able to challenge that.

Home Office guidance on part 2 of the Sexual offences act 2003 might also be useful.

Thanks for that- MAPPA seem to have powers to disclose without a notification order under s327A CJA - where the offender has been convicted of child sex offences. So I think that is what they are aiming to do.

I did not want to make that assumption. Obviously it changes many of the more general comments that I have made.

I will revise my comments.