Publication - Advice and guidance

Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA):national guidance 2016

Published: 3 Mar 2016
Safer Communities Directorate
Part of:
Law and order

Ministerial guidance to responsible authorities on the discharge of their obligations under section 10 of the Management of Offenders etc. (Scotland) Act 2005.

Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA):national guidance 2016
8. Missing/Wanted SONR Offenders

8. Missing/Wanted SONR Offenders

8.1 The primary purpose of the Sex Offender Notification Requirements ( SONR) is to enable the police to know the location of sex offenders, and to manage these sex offenders and minimise the risk of further offending against the public.

8.2 It is critical that should an offender subject to the SONR go missing, or become wanted, that the matter should be treated with the appropriate urgency and seriousness. It is an operational matter for the police and the other responsible authorities to carry out all possible enquiries to trace the missing or wanted offender.

8.3 For the purposes of MAPPA the definitions of 'missing' and 'wanted' are as follows:


8.4 A Missing person is defined as anyone whose whereabouts is unknown and:

  • where the circumstances are out of character; or
  • the context suggests the person may be subject to crime; or
  • the person is at risk of harm to themselves or another.


8.5 A Wanted Registered Sex Offender is defined as those who are subject to the notification requirements of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 and who have a live warrant in force.

8.6 Where an offender subject to the SONR is discovered to be missing or wanted, senior managers of the responsible authorities should be made aware at the earliest opportunity. This will allow for the appropriate level of management and for the deployment of suitable resources to trace them. If the offender is subject to statutory through-care licence conditions the matter should also be referred to the Parole Unit, at the Criminal Justice and Parole Division, Learning and Justice Directorate of the Scottish Government.

8.7 Police Scotland treat all missing and wanted Registered Sex Offenders with the utmost seriousness and will carry out thorough enquiries to trace their whereabouts and to re-establish the management required to protect the public. On all occasions a Senior Investigating Officer ( SIO) of a rank no less than Inspector will be appointed to lead these investigations.

8.8 The MAPPA Coordinator should be notified of the missing or wanted sex offender and consideration should be given to convening a MAPPA meeting. This will allow the responsible authorities to meet, share relevant information and agree appropriate actions. That said, it would be expected that the responsible authorities would consult and share information with each other prior to any formal MAPPA meeting.

Escaped or absconding patients

8.9 In relation to restricted patients, guidance is contained within the Memorandum of Procedure on Restricted Patients, Annex B.