Counties to adopt new sex offender law

A NEW law allowing families to check whether an individual with access to their children is a convicted sex offender will be introduced in Suffolk and Essex this summer, it has emerged.

A NEW law allowing families to check whether an individual with access to their children is a convicted sex offender will be introduced in Suffolk and Essex this summer, it has emerged.

The counties will take part in the next trial phase of the law, after police revealed that an initial pilot scheme had been a success.

Under “Sarah's Law” parents can access confidential details about anyone with access to their children if the police believe it to be in the child's interests.

Suffolk and Essex will be among 18 police forces to adopt the disclosure rules from August, before they are rolled out across the country, following a year-long trial involving Cambridgeshire, Cleveland, Hampshire and Warwickshire constabularies.


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One-in-10 calls to police during the pilot scheme uncovered the criminal past of someone with access to a child, with nearly half of all applications coming from parents with concerns about a new lover in their former partner's life. Neighbours, other family members and friends were the other main subjects of inquiries.

Registered sex offenders in the region will be contacted by officers and informed about the implications of “Sarah's Law” - named after eight-year-old Sarah Payne who was killed by convicted paedophile Roy Whiting in July, 2000.

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The scheme will begin in 18 new force areas from August, including Suffolk, Essex, Norfolk and Bedfordshire, before being extended from March next year across England and Wales, where there are currently 32,336 registered sex offenders living.

For the full story, read today's paper.

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