Fringe Box



Sex Offender Reported to Have Been Moved From Guildford Hostel

Published on: 6 Jul, 2014
Updated on: 10 Jul, 2014

National Probation Service pic

Unconfirmed reports indicate that notorious child sex offender, Robert Oliver, has now been moved from a Guildford hostel.

If true, the move from “approved premises”, run by the National Probation Service, follows a Daily Mail article in which it was reported that Oliver had been living in Guildford. He was photographed walking in the High Street.

The article, according to the Surrey Advertiser, prompted: “an online petition called ‘Put Robert Oliver back behind bars’ – signed by more than 1,200 people… and a Facebook group called ‘Get Robert Oliver out of Guildford’, (created by Leah Booker, 26, a mother of three from Park Barn) which had more than 1,800 ‘likes’. ”

Before reports were received that he had been moved, Surrey Police told local residents that Oliver’s release, on licence, in common with all residents at the hostel, came with strict conditions. If any were broken he would be immediately sent back to prison.

Cllr Caroline Reeves, whose St Nicolas & Friary ward includes the approved premises at St Catherine’s, said: “This is a difficult and highly emotive subject. If asked, no one would choose to have a place such as this in close to their home but that doesn’t solve the problem that offenders, having served their sentence, have to get back to living in a community, wherever that may be.

“My understanding is that approved premises are very tightly managed, everyone is supervised and all comings and goings are closely monitored. Anyone who creates problems in this environment is returned to prison.

“It is of utmost importance that all these measures are in place and observed. Additionally, bearing in mind the proximity of recreational areas and schools in this case, very careful assessment of each offender deemed suitable for such a location must be made.”

The lead Guildford borough councillor for community safety and health, Richard Billington, (Con, Tillingbourne) declined to comment.

The National Approved Premises Association (NAPA) website states: “Approved premises (formerly known as probation and bail hostels) are premises approved under Section 13 of the Offender Management Act 2007. The term currently applies to 100 former probation and bail hostels, providing over 2,000 bed spaces [throughout the country], managed by the Probation Service or by voluntary organisations.

“Approved premises offer residential in the community for convicted prisoners upon release under licence, or those on bail, who would not be suitable to live elsewhere.”

The website claims that approved premises provide: 24-hour staff oversight; the monitoring of curfews; compliance with rigorously enforced rules; observation and assessment of attitudes and behaviour; and programmes of regular supervision, support and monitoring aimed at reducing offending behaviour and risk to the public.

The police are unable to give details of any offenders in approved premises. NAPA, as a voluntary organisation and not a public authority, is not required to comply with the Freedom of Information Act.

In June, in line with government reforms, the Surrey and Sussex Probation Service combined with Kent to form the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Community Rehabilitation Company.

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