Scots sex offences bill is criticised

Scotland’s new sexual offences bill could be undermined by too
much emphasis on “stranger danger” and a lack of police

Maggie Mellon, director of charity Children First, said the
Protection of Children and Prevention of Sexual Offences (Scotland)
Bill going through the Scottish Parliament could give people a
“false sense of security”.

The bill proposes restricting the movements of convicted sex
offenders by making sexual offences prevention orders available at
the time of sentencing. Also it will introduce risk of sexual harm
orders for those suspected of being a threat to children. Laws on
internet grooming of children by paedophiles, similar to those in
England, would also be introduced.

“The police had to limit their prosecutions of people identified
by Operation Ore to those who possessed more than 150 images
because of a lack of money. If they haven’t the resources to
enforce existing legislation how will they be able to monitor the
internet and grooming?” Mellon said.

She added that the bill put too much emphasis on “stranger
danger” and the use of regulations and police checks to protect
people when these were not always reliable, while increased
regulations put people off working with children.

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