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Removal from the Sex Offender Register

Notification Requirements and the Sex Offender Register

How to Be Removed From The List

What is the ‘Sex Offender Register’?

Despite its name, there isn’t an actual sex offender register.  The phrase refers to the notification requirements imposed upon those offenders convicted of sexual offences. Over 50,000 individuals are currently subject to these notification requirements.

The duration of the notification obligation depends on the sentence received by an individual and the age of the offender. Below is a list of the relevant periods for adult offenders:

sex offender register notification requirements

What are the notification requirements?

The notification requirements imposed are complex.  They mainly involve keeping the police informed of your residence and any travel plans.  The police also require notification of changes to your personal details such as a change of name.  They will want to know whether a person is residing in a household with a child.  Bank and credit card details as well as passport/identity documents will need to be disclosed.

It may be that following sentence you do not understand your full obligations under the notification requirements.  If so, please contact us immediately so that we can give you specific advice.

What happens if I do not abide by the notification requirements?

It is important that you fully understand your obligations.  Non-compliance is likely to be a criminal offence.  You can be punished by up to 5 years imprisonment. Any breach is always treated seriously by a court.

Indefinite notification on the sex offender register

It can be seen from the table above that some offenders are subject to the notification regime for an indefinite period. When the regime was first introduced that meant that a person would be subject to the requirement for life.  A court judgment in 2012 changed that.

This change in the law now means that some offenders can apply to have indefinite notification requirements removed.

The law only changed, whoever, in relation to those with an indefinite period of registration.  If you are subject to notification requirements for a fixed term you are unable to apply to have them reduced or removed.

When can I make that application?

The timing of any application will depend upon your age at the time of the offence:

  • an adult can apply after 15 years
  • a juvenile can apply after years.

If you are also subject to a Sexual Offences Prevention Order that must be removed before an application can be made in respect to notification requirements.  Again, we will be able to advise and assist you in relation to this part of the procedure.

How do I go about doing that?

There is a 2-stage process.

Firstly you must make your application to the police. If that application is refused then the decision can be subject to appeal before the Magistrates’ Court.

Do the police always refuse these requests?

Although your initial feeling might be that they do,  in our experience this is not the case. Some police forces have reported an initial success rate in some two thirds of applications to be removed from the sex offender register.

It is not, however, a straightforward matter.  A simple letter to the police asking for the requirements to be lifted is unlikely to succeed. In considering your application, the police have to apply a statutory test.  As a result it is vital that your application is drafted professionally to give you the best chance of success.

When they determine an application, the police must—

(1) have regard to information (if any) received from a responsible body;

(2) consider the risk of sexual harm posed by the offender and the effect of a continuation of the indefinite notification requirements on the offender; and

(3) take into account the matters listed below:

(a) the seriousness of the initial offence;

(b) the period of time which has elapsed since the offender committed the offence (or other offences);

(c) where the offender falls within section 81(1) of the 2003 Act, whether the offender committed any offence under section 3 of the Sex Offenders Act 1997;

(d) whether the offender has committed any offence under section 91 of the Act;

(e) the age of the offender at the qualifying date or further qualifying date;

(f) the age of the offender at the time the offence was committed;

(g) the age of any person who was a victim of any such offence (where applicable) and the difference in age between the victim and the offender at the time the offence was committed;

(h) any assessment of the risk posed by the offender which has been made by a responsible body under the arrangements for managing and assessing risk established under section 325 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003;

(i) any submission or evidence from a victim of the offence giving rise to the indefinite notification requirements;

(j) any convictions or findings made by a court (including by a court in Scotland, Northern Ireland or countries outside the United Kingdom) in respect of the offender for any offence listed in Schedule 3 other than the one referred to in paragraph (a);

(k) any caution which the offender has received for an offence (including for an offence in Northern Ireland or countries outside the United Kingdom) which is listed in Schedule 3;

(l) any convictions or findings made by a court in Scotland, Northern Ireland or countries outside the United Kingdom in respect of the offender for any offence listed in Schedule 5 where the behaviour of the offender since the date of such conviction or finding indicates a risk of sexual harm;

(m) any other submission or evidence of the risk of sexual harm posed by the offender;

(n) any evidence presented by or on behalf of the offender which demonstrates that the offender does not pose a risk of sexual harm;


(o) any other matter which the relevant chief officer of police considers to be appropriate.

How can we assist in your application?

sex offender register notification requirementsYou will appreciate from the list of considerations that the appeal process is complex and will require a detailed application from you.

We can assist you in collating the material necessary to draft and submit an application.  This will ensure that any application you make has the best chance of success.  This will be true whether it is considered by the police or before a court.

Contact a specialist criminal solicitor

We have a number of solicitors who will be able to assist you with any query or application relating to the sex offender register.  Please find information about your nearest office here.  Our team provide nationwide advice and representation, so if it is difficult for you to make an appointment then please contact is using the form below and we can contact you to discuss how best to progress your case.