Almost 1,200 registered sex offenders were living in Derbyshire last year - including 270 in Chesterfield - but police have admitted they lost track of some of them.
Our Freedom of Information request to Derbyshire Constabulary shows there were 1,186 sex offenders living in the county in 2017 - but officers did not know the whereabouts of seven of them.
Reacting to the figures, a mum whose then 13-year-old daughter was groomed online in 2015 by now jailed Chesterfield man, Nathan Bray, 26, formerly of Augustine’s Crescent, said: “I think this is disgusting. They are letting them get off with far too much. They want locking up. I think for a first time offence it should be 10 years and more after that if they reoffend.”
According to the FOI statistics, there were 1,152 sex offenders living in Derbyshire in 2016 - 260 in Chesterfield - but again police could not trace nine of them.
While in 2015 there were 1,081 sex offenders in the county. There was no data for how many police could not trace for this year.
The data is based on registers up until February 2017 - the date we received our FOI response.
The number of registered sex offenders in Derbyshire has increased considerably in the last five years. Statistics show there were 908 in 2012/2013.
Registered sex offenders - including paedophiles and rapists - are tracked through a system called the Multi Agency Public Protection Agreements (MAPPA) - made up of Derbyshire Constabulary, HM Prisons Service and the National Probation Service.
It is a joined up approach which aims at reducing the risk of offenders causing serious harm to victims and members of the public.
Assistant Chief Constable Bill McWilliam, of Derbyshire Constabulary, and chairman of the MAPPA Strategic Management Board, said: “Registered sexual offenders managed under Multi Agency Public Protection Agreements are required to notify the police of their name, address and other personal details, notifying us any of changes to these details.
“Failing to inform the police of detail changes is a criminal offence. We always pursue offenders whose whereabouts are unknown.
“We work with a variety of agencies, including Interpol and the National Crime Agency, to find those offenders who have travelled abroad.”
Sally Goodwin, chief executive of SV2 in Derbyshire, a charity in Derbyshire which supports victims of sexual violence, said that the effects of abuse and violence on a person can cause psychological, emotional and physicals impacts.
She added that knowing a sex offender is living back in the community can cause ‘fear’ and ‘anxiety’ for a victim.
She said: “They can often feel powerless which can reduce their self-esteem and self-confidence and can sometimes result in them becoming isolated - both physically and psychologically. At SV2, the importance of building up an individual’s inner resources is paramount as this will assist the victim in improving their own level of coping as well as managing their own experiences and responses. Often the perpetrator may not be incarcerated so it is vital that survivors do gain an improved sense of safety which empowers them and helps with feeling back in control.”
She added: “A custodial sentence can bring a sense of safety in that a victim knows that the perpetrator cannot hurt anyone else or reoffend against them whilst they are in custody. However, on release the victim can often can be filled with fear and anxiety thinking that the offender might seek to contact them in some way or there may be a possibility of seeing them in the local community. This can then affect a victim in a number of ways including reduced social interaction unless supported or they may even become isolated.”