FOI release

Calculation of notification periods for Registered Sex Offenders who have an extended sentence

23965 We have received a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 for the following:  This request relates to the ruling of R v Wiles…



We have received a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 for the following: 

This request relates to the ruling of R v Wiles 2005, regarding the calculation of notification periods for RSO’s who have an extended sentence.

Home Office advice dated 12th April 2005 was sent to each Police force to ensure they have ‘applied the effects of this judgement from at least 1st April 2005’.

However, it seems there are variations between forces as to when the have applied the ruling. Some have applied it to sentences from 1st April 2005, others have chosen different dates - I have seen two other dates of 1st August 2000 and 1st September 1997.

Question 1 - From what date does the Home Office feel is correct to apply the affects of the R v Wiles ruling from - sentences passed on and after 1st April 2005, or an earlier date?

It is very possible that some who were signing the Register of Sexual Offenders would have finished their notification by the time some forces ‘caught up’ with the ruling. An example of this could be someone convicted in 1998 of 12 months prison plus a 3 year extended licence would have pre R v Wiles been made to notify for 10 years, so ending in 2008. Post R v Wiles, this would mean a life-time notification. However as some forces had only just informed offenders they manage of this ruling as late as last year, this would mean the person in this example would be required to ‘re-register’.

Question 2 - Has there been any cases of offenders needing to restart notification when they believed they had finished?

Some forces are applying the ruling from the advised date of 1st April 2005, and some apply it earlier.

Question 3 - If an offender were to move between police forces whilst under notification, would they see a reduction or increase to their notification dependant on that particular force’s policy?

Question 4 - Would this mean someone who had finished notification in an area that applies the ruling from 1st April 2005, who then moved to an area that applies it from 1st September 1997 would be required to re-register?

It is clear that sentencing judges were not intending to make those most affected by this ruling subject to life-time notification, rather than the 10 year sentence stated at sentencing, and they believed they were sentencing in accordance with legislation. If they were aware that calculation notifications were incorrect, it is highly conceivable that they may have passed a different sentence. This is further evidenced that the CJA 2008 now only allows extended sentences to be passed if a term of imprisonment of at least 4 years is appropriate.

Question 5 - Does the way that R v Wiles is being so randomly applied and the extremely inconsistent way offenders are being informed (it taking up to 6 and a half years to inform) in effect amount to a retrospective sentencing increase, and imposing a sentence that the sentencing judge did not intend?

We released the following information on 14 September 2012.


The Home Office issued guidance to police forces in April 2005 advising that, for as long as R v Wiles [2004] remains in force, the police should act in accordance with it.  The decision in R v Wiles [2004] clarified how existing legislation should be read and applied.  This approach was affirmed by the Divisional Court in R v Minter (2011).

This, therefore, means that the notification requirements in relation to a person who is made the subject of an extended sentence should apply in accordance with R v Wiles [2004].  In this respect, the effect of R v Wiles [2004] is applied from the date on which the legislation to which it relates (sections 76 and 85 of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000) was in force, namely 25 August 2000.  Therefore, the R v Wiles [2004] judgement applies to that legislation as from 25 August 2000 across all police forces in England and Wales.

Published 14 September 2012