Fenland trial of 'Sarah's Law' is praised by Government and could roll out nationwide
PARENTS in England and Wales could soon be able to check on suspected paedophiles after a trial in Fenland of the controversial Sarah s Law has been praised by the Government. Police could also pass on information about convictio
Story by: ADAM LAZZARI
PARENTS in England and Wales could soon be able to check on suspected paedophiles after a trial in Fenland of the controversial 'Sarah's Law' has been praised by the Government.
Police could also pass on information about convictions for domestic violence and even unproven complaints of abuse.
Sarah's Law has been piloted in north Cambridgeshire and parts of Warwickshire, Cleveland and Hampshire since September 2008.
Sarah's Law, was spearheaded by the parents of Sarah Payne who was killed by a paedophile.
They wanted the government to allow controlled access to the Sex Offenders Register, so parents with young children could know if a child sex-offender was living in their area.
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The Home Office said that during the trial 150 parents made inquiries and 10 were given "relevant information."
The four locations were chosen randomly.
The news came as new NSPCC figures show there were 21,000 child sex attacks reported to police last year - 60 every day.
Home Secretary Alan Johnson said: "Protecting children and families from sex offenders is one of my top priorities and the UK already has one of the most robust systems of managing sex offenders in the world.
"The development of this scheme is a major step forward in our ability to protect children from sex offenders.
"Early results are extremely encouraging and the pilot has provided crucial protection for children who might otherwise be at risk.
"We are still evaluating the results from the year long pilot and are talking to the police and children's charities before a final decision on rolling out the scheme is made shortly."
Opponents to the scheme argue that Sarah's Law will lead to vigilantism and push sex offenders underground, making them more difficult for police to track.
• For an in-depth look at the 'Sarah's Law' trial in Cambridgeshire - including background, a precedent and case studies, see today's Cambs Times or Wisbech Standard.