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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

August 21, 2008: Tightening Controls For Sex Offenders

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has announced new measures to strengthen the travel restrictions on convicted child sex offenders, building on the UK's already tough rules.

Key measures announced include:

  • requiring registered sex offenders to notify the police earlier of their intentions to travel abroad
  • automatic removal of an individual���s passport when they are subject to a blanket foreign travel order
  • extending the duration of a foreign travel order (currently 6 months)

The changes follow consultation with police and the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Agency (CEOP). The Home Secretary is considering further restrictions on passport access for convicted child sex offenders.

There is also a possibility that the upper age limit for children considered at risk could be raised. Currently the law protects those 16 and under, but that could be increased to 18 in some circumstances. Ms Smith  emphasised that the UK's rigorous system for managing child sex offenders is already among the toughest in the world:

'The changes I’m announcing today will strengthen that even further. I want to see anyone who poses a threat to our children dealt with as firmly as possible,' she said. 'I’ve spoken to child protection experts and the police and they have told me that these changes will further restrict the ability of child sex offenders to harm children both here and overseas.'

'I will legislate for these measures as soon as possible.'

At the moment, anyone convicted of a child sex offence automatically goes on the sex offenders register, as outlined by the Sex Offenders Act (1997). The severity of their sentence determines how long they stay on the register. A cross-governmental agency made up of made up of police, probation service, prison service and other agencies oversees sex offenders after they are released from prison.

To prevent convicted offenders from committing further sexual offences either here or against children abroad, police can apply for a sexual offences prevention order or a foreign travel order. These orders can either ban travel to specific countries or they can be more wide-ranging - banning all overseas travel.

However, offenders are not currently required to hand over their passports, and the orders are limited to six months. The government is now considering extending that limit to five years.

Police can also issue sexual offences prevention orders, but these require recent evidence proving that such an order is necessary to protect the public. The rules are quite restrictive, requiring that evidence must have been gathered within the last six months. Those restrictions make it difficult for the police to obtain a protective order in some circumstances.