Sex Offender 'Watch' Underway

A scheme that helps keep children safe by allowing parents to ask police whether people with access to their family are sex offenders rolls-out nationally today, the Home Secretary has announced.

The Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme provides members of the public with a way to check whether people who have contact with their children are a possible risk - and if it can help keep children safe the police will pass on information.

Having already protected more than 60 children from abuse during its pilot, the scheme is expanding to eight additional forces from today, taking the total number of areas covered to 12. A further 12 forces will come online by the autumn and the remainder of areas by spring next year.

Home Secretary Theresa May said: "The roll-out of this scheme is an important step forward for child protection in this country. Being able to make these checks reassures parents and the community and more importantly keeps children safer.

"Not only will it help parents, carers or guardians ensure that their children are safe, but it also assists the police in managing known sex offenders living in the community more effectively.

"The start of the nationwide roll-out will mean even more children will be protected from potential harm."

Under the scheme a parent, carer, guardian or another interested party, can ask the police to check whether someone who has access to their children has a record of committing child sexual offences.

If they are found to have convictions for sexual offences against children, and pose a risk of causing serious harm to the child or children concerned, then this information may be disclosed.

ACPO lead on the Management of Sexual and Violent Offenders, Chief Constable Paul West, said: "One of the police service's most fundamental roles is to do whatever we can to protect people from harm. The introduction of the Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme represents a major development in our ability to safeguard children.

"As well as empowering parents, carers or guardians to take active steps to protect their children, some of the cases experienced in the pilot force areas have involved concerns raised by extended family members and neighbours. Their actions have undoubtedly led to children being protected from potential harm."


Related UK National News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

01 April 2005
Home Office launches crack down on Net paedophiles
The Home Office has announced new measures to protect children from being 'groomed' by internet paedophiles. As part of the plans new Centre for Child Protection on the Internet will be set up to provide support for the police and child protection agencies.
16 March 2009
Child Sex Warning Scheme Extended
At least ten children have been protected from potential abuse by sex offenders in the first six months of the Government's Child Sexual Offender Disclosure Pilot, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith announced today. This early success has led to the decision to extend the scheme within the police forces involved.
29 January 2013
Proposal Will Allow Childminders To Accept More Children
New proposals will allow nurseries and childminders in England to look after more children, providing carers qualifications meet new standards. The proposals, due to come into effect in the autumn, would make more childcare places available and reduce costs for parents in the "long term", children's minister Liz Truss has said.
03 March 2010
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.
14 April 2004
Lack of proper car seats puts children at risk, DfT
Thousands of children are being put in unnecessary danger as many parents are still not using the appropriate car seats, new research from the Department for Transport (DfT) has found.