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News Archives: Index

October 7, 2010: Probation Set For Industrial Action

October 5, 2010: Turning Prisoners Into Taxpayers

October 4, 2010: Murder Changes Now In Force

September 20, 2010: Probation Programmes Face Cuts

August 24, 2010: Victorian Poor Law Records Online

August 10, 2010: Justice Job Cuts

July 28, 2010: Prison Violence Growing

July 22, 2010: Police Numbers: Latest Figures

July 22, 2010: New Jurisdiction Rules

July 16, 2010: CCJS On Prison And Probation Spending Under Labour

July 15, 2010: Latest Statistics On Violent And Sexual Crime

July 15, 2010: Latest National Crime Figures

July 15, 2010: New Chief Prisons Inspector

July 14, 2010: Hard Times Ahead For Prisons: Anne Owers

July 14, 2010: Prison Does Not Work: Ken Clarke

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform: Sentencing and Rehabilitation

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform Priorities

July 12, 2010: What Price Public Protection, Asks Probation Chief Inspector

July 12, 2010: NOMS has failed, says Napo

July 10, 2010: IPCC To Investigate Death of Raoul Moat

July 9, 2010: Women In Prison: New Report

July 9, 2009: Unjust Deserts: Imprisonment for Public Protection

July 8, 2010: Police Search Powers Change

July 7, 2010: Make 'Legal High' Illegal, Says ACMD

July 2, 2010: Failing Children In Prison

July 2, 2010: Police Buried Under a Blizzard of Guidance: HMIC

July 1, 2010: Freedom To Change The Law?

June 30, 2010: A New Outlook On Penal Reform?

June 30, 2010: Revolving Door Of Offending Must Stop, Says Clarke

June 30, 2010: Ken Clarke: Speech on Criminal Justice Reform

June 29, 2010: No More Police Targets

June 26, 2010: Family Intervention Projects Questioned

June 25, 2010: Cutting Criminal Justice

June 24, 2010: Napo on Sex Offenders Report

June 23, 2010: Closing Courts: The Cuts Begin

June 23, 2010: Strategy To Tackle Gangs

June 15, 2010: Courts and Mentally Disordered Offenders

June 8, 2010: Working With Muslims in Prison

June 1, 2010: Your Chance To Nominate a QC

June 13, 2007: New Measures For Sex Offenders

A range of new measures aimed at enhancing the protection of children from sex offenders was unveiled today by Home Secretary John Reid. The 'Review of the Protection of Children from Sex Offenders'  has considered what extra steps are needed to enhance the protection of children from sex offenders.

It looked at evidence from stakeholders, current operational practice and how other countries tackle the issue. The review sets out 20 actions to further strengthen efforts to keep children safe, including:

  • Pilot a new process allowing parents or guardians to, for the first time, request details of possible sex offenders in certain defined circumstances;
  • Introduce a legal duty on the police and probation services to consider in each case whether a child sex offender’s conviction should be disclosed in order to protect the child, with a presumption towards disclosure;
  • Review the use of satellite tracking to monitor high risk sex offenders;
  • Develop the use of drug treatment to help reduce sexual drive and subsequent offending;
  • Pilot the use of compulsory polygraph tests to ensure child sex offenders are not reoffending;
  • Extend the information that offenders must provide when on the Sex Offenders Register to include for example email addresses, or when they are starting a relationship with a woman who has children;
  • Community awareness campaigns to ensure parents are aware of how child sex offenders are managed and how they can best protect their children.

Home Secretary John Reid said:

“There are few crimes more horrific than sexual offences against children. Ensuring that this most vulnerable group in society are safe is at the heart of the Government’s agenda."

"The UK already has the strongest restrictions on child sex offenders. Today’s new measures will strengthen protection allowing disclosure for concerned parents and guardians and tougher treatment for those abusing children."

“For the first time there will be circumstances where members of the public will have the right to request details of possible sex offenders who may have contact with their children. The review introduces a wide range of new measures and it is right that we ensure these are correctly implemented through a piloting process.”

Responding to the publication of the Child Sex Offender Review, Harry Fletcher, Assistant General Secretary of probation union Napo, said:

“The decision not to disclose information to the general public is welcomed. Had disclosure occurred sex offenders would have gone to ground and the job of protecting children would have been much more difficult. The decision to allow vulnerable women and others limited access to information is fraught with practical problems. The most vulnerable women are in all probability the least likely to seek advice and help. There would have to be safeguards to ensure that the information was accurate."

Repeated research has shown that the police national computer contains many errors. There would also need to be safeguards to ensure that the information was not handed on and therefore resulted in vigilante action. It is extremely difficult to see how this scheme would work in practice.

“It is extremely worrying that the Home Secretary has spoken of the need to break the monopoly of information about sex offenders held by professionals. The information is not a commodity; it is highly sensitive and must be kept confidential. This sounds like a sop to certain tabloid papers. It is important that any extension of drug treatment is voluntary and Ministers must be aware that many sex offenders are driven by a need to abuse power."

"Research from the United States shows that Megan’s Law has proved to be extremely expensive, has involved huge amounts of police and probation time, that up to half the information held has been inaccurate, that paedophiles go missing, and that there is no evidence to suggest that disclosure cuts crime."

In response to the Child Sex Offender Review report, Terry Grange, Association Chief Police Officers (ACPO) lead on Child Protection and Chief Constable of Dyfed Powys, said:

“ACPO have been working with the Home Office during the review period and are confident that the measures being taken will improve safety for our children. The police service is committed to protecting the most vulnerable groups in our communities and will implement the measures announced today by the Home Office.”

The Home Office and Ministry of Justice will provide an extra £1.2 million to Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) areas to increase their capacity to manage offenders and protect the public. The new system of disclosure will initially be piloted in three police forces backed by £1.5 million in new resources. In addition, the Government will be committing £150,000 to pilot a community-awareness campaign in partnership with the Stop It Now! charity.