Sarah’s Law to target child sex offenders

PARENTS concerned their children may be in contact with a convicted child sex offender can now check with the police.

Avon and Somerset Constabulary launched the Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme, also known as Sarah’s Law, on Monday.

The scheme allows parents to legally find out if their children are in contact with criminals or paedophiles.

It was implemented as a result of a long campaign by Sara Payne, whose eight-year-old daughter Sarah was killed by a convicted paedophile.

The scheme was first introduced as a pilot by the Home Office for a 12-month period, but following its success it was decided to roll it out nationally.

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All forces will be live with the scheme by next month.

Head of Public Protection at Avon and Somerset, Geoff Wessell, said: “We have always taken the protection of children extremely seriously and for some time have had a range of robust and successful procedures in place to support this.

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“The introduction of Sarah’s Law is a welcome addition to the existing measures that are already in place in Avon and Somerset. This will support the fight to protect children and further ensure they are even safer in the future.”

Police can already disclose information about registered sex offenders to people, including headteachers, employers and parents.

But the scheme allows members of the public to use a formal process to apply for information about people who come into contact with their children - when a single mother invites a new boyfriend into her home, for example.

Applications are made to police and involve a face-to-face interview before a result, usually after 45 days.

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