Sarah’s Law to ease parents’ pervert fears

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PARENTS worried about paedophiles coming into contact with their children will be able to ask the police whether specific individuals have been convicted of child sex offences from Monday.

South Yorkshire Police is one of the latest forces to offer the national Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme, created by the former Labour Government.

It allows parents, carers and guardians to check up on people with whom their children come in to contact and about whom they have concerns.

If police checks show the individual has convictions for child sexual offences or other offences that might put the child at risk - such as domestic violence - they may share the information with the person who requested it or with whoever is caring for the child.

The Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme - commonly known as ‘Sarah’s Law’ after the murder of eight-year-old Sarah Payne - was first piloted in 2009.

Det Supt Adrian Teague, from South Yorkshire Police, said: “The majority of child sex offenders are known to their victims, so this service allows parents to better protect their child from harm.

“Members of the public, parents, carers and guardians can contact the police if they have a concern about a child or children.

“We would make initial checks and hold a follow up meeting with the applicant.

“It will be for us and other agencies to consider whether it’s appropriate to make a disclosure about the individual.”

Police have 45 days to respond to requests.

Det Supt Teague said a variety of factors would be taken into consideration when deciding whether to disclose criminal history, including the offender’s human rights and whether the application had been made maliciously.

Applicants would be required to sign a confidentiality document preventing them from sharing the information around the community.

Applicants must go through a rigorous process to apply for information. The first step is to ring 0114 2196954 or visit a South Yorkshire police station. .