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JOINED-UP WORKING TO STOP OFFENDERS

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Councils and police have been told to work more closely together to manage sex offenders, after a man under the sup...
Councils and police have been told to work more closely together to manage sex offenders, after a man under the supervision of North Lanarkshire Council attempted to rape a child.

A report by the Scottish Social Work Inspection Agency into the case of James Campbell, who snatched a two-year-old girl from her home while armed with a knife, found agencies were not following agreed protocols.

'Important meetings did not happen and the agencies were not working to a joint action plan,' the report revealed.

The 19-year-old attacker, who had been living in a hostel after being released early from a three-year sentence for the attempted rape of a pensioner, was given a life sentence last October.

Investigators said high rates of absenteeism among social work staff both at North Lanarkshire and in the Scottish Prison Service had a 'significant impact' on the handling of the case.

The report also said social workers and the housing department failed to co-operate to place him in housing suitable for a high-risk sex offender.

North Lanarkshire's chief executive Gavin Whitefield accepted lessons had to be learned but warned it was impossible to guarantee a determined offender would not reoffend.

'The recommendations recognise some of the national issues around managing sex offenders in the community, which we believe requires further legislation,' he added.

For example, there was no nationally accredited risk assessment tool.

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