Sex Offender Identity Scheme Widens

More parents across the UK have been given the power to identify convicted paedophiles in their community.

Home Secretary Alan Johnson said the scheme will improve protection for children by giving members of the public a formal mechanism to enquire about those in contact with young people.

The Child Sex Offender Disclosure scheme has already had success after more than 60 children were protected from potential abuse during a 12 month pilot.

The scheme will now roll out to 18 new police force areas from August.

The four existing pilot areas will also continue with the scheme and it will roll out to all forces by the end of March 2011.

Mr Johnson said he is determined to do all I can to protect children and families from sex offenders.

"The UK already has one of the most robust systems in the world for the management of sex offenders, the new scheme will build on this ensuring more children are kept safe.

"We've already seen that children are better protected and sex offenders more effectively managed because of this scheme, which is why it is rolling out nationwide."

The four pilot police forces saw 585 enquiries and 315 applications primarily from parents, carers and guardians.

Around 21 disclosures were made about registered child sex offenders;

Victims' Champion Sara Payne, whose daughter Sarah was abducted and killed by a sex offender, welcomed the expansion of the scheme.

"I am delighted that the years of campaigning and hard work by so many friends and colleagues have provided those who care for children with the right to check that adults who have access to them do not pose a danger," she said.

"The evaluation has shown the huge benefits of increased but controlled access to information. The input of the police, children's charities and academics to the pilots has ensured consensus has been reached and we are working together to keep children safe."


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