The public will have access to information on convicted child sex offenders in four pilot areas across England under plans launched today.
The piloted scheme will allow parents or the legal guardians of children aged under-18 to register with the police and probation officers a child protection interest about a particular individual and apply for information on child sex convictions.
The scheme will run in Cleveland, Cambridgeshire, Hampshire and Warwickshire and takes forward one of the 20 actions set out in the 2007 Review of the Protection of Children from Sex Offenders.
Speaking on BBC’s Politics Show yesterday (Sunday 17 February), home secretary Jacqui Smith said that the scheme could be used by a single parent who wants to check whether a new boyfriend has any child sex offence convictions.
Smith added: “It is not a community-wide disclosure. It is not something that some have feared would drive sex offenders underground. It is a sensible way to ensure we have more information out there to protect children in the most effective way.”
This pilot is one measure outlined in today’s action plan on violent crime, Saving Lives. Reducing Harm. Protecting the Public.
This sets out a series of measures to reduce knife crime, gun and gang-related crime, homicide, and sexual and domestic violence by 2011 and will be led by a ministerial action group.