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Helping the Police stop sex offenders from re-offending

Helping the Police stop sex offenders from re-offending

About this project

Since its creation in 2013, the Leisurewatch scheme has shared hundreds of referrals from Members with the Police, as part of formal information-sharing arrangements. These referrals cover concerning behaviour by individuals which falls short of criminal behaviour. These allow the Police to build up intelligence about potential risks in Members' sites, and also to combine multiple incidents involving an individual into a fuller picture leading to action to prevent future offences.

The scheme was the only public protection scheme to receive the 'Secured by Design' kitemark from the Association of Chief Police Officers (now the Chief Police Chiefs' Council).

Here are some examples, drawn from our Members across Great Britain and Northern Ireland since Leisurewatch was established:

  • At a leisure centre run by one of our Members in the North East of England staff were concerned about a couple kissing and touching each other in the swimming pool - the male looked much older than the female, who herself looked very young. After sharing this information with the Police, it transpired that the girl was under 16 and the male was her uncle, who had been abusing her under the guise of a loving relationship. The case went to court and the male was convicted of sexual offences.
  • A man was reported independently by a number of sites run by the same Member in the North East of England. In every site he behaved suspiciously - going out of his way to reassure staff of his good intentions, and then watching children's swimming lessons rather than using the facilities himself. After a referral, he was spoken to by the Police and stopped visiting the sites.
  • In Northern Ireland, users of a swimming pool raised concerns that an individual using the site had been reported in the local press as having committed sexual offences. A manager made a Leisurewatch referral which allowed the Police to discover the individual was breaching the terms of a civil order which prevented them using sites where children congregated. As a result, the offender was returned to prison.

In addition to these public successes there will have been many where individuals were discouraged from offending because of the presence of the Leisurewatch scheme and because of interventions by staff as a result of their Leisurewatch training. We are very proud of the way in which Leisurewatch has contributed to public safety in the decade-plus we have been running it.

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