Act introduces stricter controls on sex offenders

The movement of sex offenders in the UK will be governed more
closely following the introduction this week of tougher

The measures are included in the Criminal Justice and Court
Services Act 2000. This amended the Sex Offenders Act 1997, which
requires a sex offender who is cautioned or convicted of a schedule
one offence to notify the police of their personal details.

Changes to procedures mean initial notification must now take
place in person, within three rather than 14 days, and at a police
station prescribed by the secretary of state. Police will also have
a new right to take fingerprints and photographs of offenders on
initial notification.

Measures bought in as a result of a review of the 1997 act
announced in June 2000 also include an extra power for the courts
to impose restraining orders on sexual offenders convicted of
relevant offences.

Other provisions include an increase in the maximum penalty for
failure to comply with the act’s requirements from six years to
five years and a fine, and a requirement that an offender must
notify the police of his or her intention to leave the UK and of
their return.

Meanwhile, Scottish children will be protected under proposals
announced this week by education minister Jack McConnell.

Adults considered unsuitable to work with children will be
listed in an index. This will include people who have been
dismissed from employment or voluntary work with children.

The Scottish executive will be informed by employers of people
they should consider for inclusion on the index. Employers can
consult the index before offering a job working with children.

Under the plans, it will be a criminal offence for those on the
index to work with children.

The index should be operating by the end of 2002 and will be
available through the Scottish Criminal Records Office.

McConnell said: “The index will help to close the loophole which
allows some unsuitable adults to pose a risk to children through
the respect gained in a work environment.”

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