The Sex Offender Register : Politics, Policy and Public Opinion book cover
1st Edition

The Sex Offender Register
Politics, Policy and Public Opinion

ISBN 9780367542849
Published April 12, 2021 by Routledge
260 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations

USD $44.95

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Book Description

The Sex Offender Register examines the origins, history, structure and legalities of the UK sex offender register, and explores how political and public opinion has influenced the direction the policy of registration has taken.

Delving into the origins of the UK sex offender register and how the registration policy has evolved, this book provides an understanding of the register and its contribution to public protection while attempting to see the register as a policy that has grown and developed and as having an organic life of its own. The sex offender register is designed as a form of public protection rather than a punishment, requiring offenders to notify the police of their circumstances and to accept a degree of offender management from the police.

The book:

• puts the development of the register in its political, social and ethical context

• considers the position of children and young people as offenders

• outlines the movement of registered offenders across international borders

• analyses how offenders can be removed from the register

• explores how other countries in the UK manage sex offenders through registers

• asks questions about the efficacy of the register and what contribution it makes to public protection

• looks at specific aspects of registration including the management of information

• delves into the experience of life on the register

• examines the influence of public opinion

• discusses the role of the police as custodians of the register and as offender managers.

Exploring the different pressures brought to bear on the register, this book provides an authoritative starting point for police officers, social workers, probation officers, magistrates, students of Criminology, Criminal Justice and Policing, and the general reader wanting to understand where the UK sex offender register originated from and how it operates today.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. The Origins of the UK register

3. The Sex Offenders Act 1997

4. The First Five Years (1997-2002)

5. The Sexual Offences Act 2003

6. 2003-2010

7. The Years 2010-2020

8. Life on the Register

9. The Management of Information held on the Register

10. The Registration of Children and Young People who Commit Sexual Offences

11. The ‘Travelling Sex Offender’

12. Coming off the Register

13. The register in Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and other British Overseas Territories

14. Conclusions

References and Bibliography


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Terry Thomas is Emeritus Professor of Criminal Justice Studies at Leeds Beckett University. He is the author of Sex Crime: Sex Offending and Society (2016 3rd edn), Policing Sexual Offences and Sex Offenders (2016) and Privacy and Criminal Justice (co-author with Daniel Marshall 2017).


Daniel J. Marshall is a Senior Lecturer in Criminal Justice at Liverpool John Moores University. His research interests are in the fields of youth justice, criminal justice, privacy and enterprise education.



"This is an essential book for anyone seeking to understand the Sex Offender Register in the UK. The book provides a comprehensive overview of the development of the ‘register’ by examining the socio-historical context within which it emerged and developed. The impact of the register, how it is implemented and monitored are also examined in-depth, providing readers with a thorough understanding of the operationalisation of the register nationally. This unique book is ideal for students, practitioners, policy makers and academics in search of a one-stop source on sex offender management in the UK."

-Prof. Sarah Kingston, Professor of Criminal Justice and Policing, Co-Director of the Criminal Justice Partnership, University of Central Lancashire

"This book is the most comprehensive of its kind. Whether you’re an academic or practitioner, if you want to know anything about the Sex Offender Register and if it succeeds in its aim to protect the public then this is the book for you."

Caro Gorden, Senior lecturer, Criminology and Criminal Justice Programme Leader for MA Criminology and Criminal Justice, Wrexham Glyndwr University