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'250' cons released to murder and rob.

Byline: By STEPHEN WHITE

UP to 250 rapes, murders and other serious crimes were carried out in the last year by offenders freed into the community, it is claimed.

The official figure released yesterday is 61. But experts said crucial information was excluded from the statistics.

Amid fury, shadow Home Secretary David Davis said: "These figures betray a serious failure by Government to protect citizens.

"They also raise questions about the assessment of offenders for release."

Lib-Dem home affairs spokesman Nick Clegg said: "When re-offending is so rife among those who pose the most serious threat to the public, government agencies must be held accountable."

A report on the Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements disclosed that 61 offenders were charged with a further serious offence in 2005-6 after being released.

Probation union Napo said: "About 250 people are convicted of a serious further offence each year, although that is not included here."

Yesterday's figures also showed that the number of registered sex offenders in England and Wales increased by three per cent to 29,973.

The number of violent and other sex offenders jumped more than 13 per cent to 14,317.

In total, there were 47,653 violent and sex offenders monitored by Mappa in England and Wales - up nearly seven per cent on the previous 12 months.

Of the total, 12,505 were classed as a "high" or "very high" risk of serious harm, an 11 per cent rise.

There was also a 30 per cent rise in the number of registered sex offenders charged or cautioned for committing new crimes, up to 1,295 from 993 last year.

Mappa brings together police, probation, social services and other agencies to monitor dangerous offenders after they are freed.

It was the first annual report since the system was criticised for failing in the case of rapist Anthony Rice.

Rice, 49, strangled and stabbed to death Naomi Bryant, 40, at her home in Winchester in August last year, nine months after being released from jail.

An inquiry concluded a Mappa panel placed his human rights above protecting the public.

Home Office minister Gerry Sutcliffe said yesterday: "While we can never eliminate risk, we're entitled to expect that everything that can be done is done to prevent re-offending."

CAPTION(S):

KILLER: Knifeman Rice
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Oct 24, 2006
Words:381
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