Monday, November 30, 1998 Published at 02:14 GMT
Thousands on sex offenders list
200 offenders not on the list will be prosecuted
Nearly 6,000 sex offenders throughout are now registered with the police in England and Wales, the BBC has learned.
The findings coincide with the implementation from Monday of new powers for police to control the movements of paedophiles.
The register comprises all individuals who have been convicted, cautioned or have served prison sentences for sexual offences since September 1997.
It was established earlier this year to allow organisations working with children to check the backgrounds of job applicants, after a series of abuse scandals in care homes.
Prosecutions have begun against approximately 200 offenders whose names are not yet included.
The society warns that too many paedophile rings only come to light by accident and calls for a more systematic approach to investigations.
From Monday, police forces in England and Wales will also have the power to apply for court orders that will keep named sex offenders away from sensitive areas such as schools and nurseries.
The powers - part of the Crime and Disorder Act - will be granted only after a magistrate is convinced that there is a danger to the public.
The Association of Chief Police Officers has welcomed the legislation, but warns that it is only one of many tools that the police need to employ to control sex offenders.
The National Association for the Care and Rehabilitation of Offenders said that such powers must be used in the context of treatment and supervision programmes for them to be wholly effective.