North East Somerset Council and Avon and Somerset police have today been unable to confirm whether they are due to pilot a Home Office Megan’s Law-type scheme to protect children from paedophiles.
Details of the pilot emerged in a News of the World story on Sunday suggesting that the US scheme that helps parents identify paedophiles would be piloted in three areas in the UK. Bath and North East Somerset was the only pilot area named.
While the Home Office refused to confirm whether the pilots were going ahead, a spokeswoman told Community Care on Monday that it “stood by” the News of the World story.
Yesterday, following media reports that suggested the Home Office had retracted the plans in the face of criticism from children’s charities, the Home Office issued a statement saying “no decision” had been made about laws on child sex offenders.
Today, a spokeswoman for Bath and North East Somerset Council said she was unable to confirm whether the pilot was going ahead.
Maurice Lindsay, chair of the Bath and North East Somerset local safeguarding children board, said: “We are obviously aware of the Home Office review and the current debate around the UK version of Megan’s Law. We are also aware that the Home Office has clearly stated that it is too soon to discuss any pilot scheme. The child protection agencies of Bath and North East Somerset work together to implement the existing public protection legislation and are committed to protecting children.”
A spokesperson for Avon and Somerset police was unable to comment on whether the pilot would go ahead in the area.
Megan’s law, which was introduced in the US after the murder of seven-year-old Megan Kanka in 1994 by a known local paedophile, enables parents to find out whether sex offenders live nearby.
Megan’s law: special report