Sunday, January 24, 2010

Expanding Sarah's Law

I welcome the suggestion, from the Home Secretary, that 'Sarah's Law' might be expanded beyond its existing pilot sites in trialled in Hampshire, Warwickshire, north Cambridgeshire and Cleveland to the rest of the country.

"Sarah's Law" was proposed after the murder of eight-year-old Sarah Payne by a convicted sex offender 10 years ago.

Sarah was kidnapped and murdered by Roy Whiting in West Sussex in 2000.

Readers may recall that a couple of years ago, I wrote to the Chief Constable of Kent, under the Freedom of Information Act, and asked how many registered sex offenders were living in Thanet, who might pose a potential risk to local children. You may also recall that such information was refused on the grounds that it might' provoke public disorder.' Given the Government's unwelcome policy of 'dispersal' to seaside towns without informing the local authorities, I believe it  would be in the public interest to be able to enter a postcode and at the very least, be given some indication of the presence of potentially dangerous and registered sexual predators living in the local area, without necessarily revealing their identity. It makes the difference between allowing one's child to walk to and from school or the shops or not for many parents.

Listening to Labour's Harriet Harman 'fudging' this and the Government's poor child poverty record on the BBC Politics show today, I would also welcome both of these topics as subjects for our coming General Election debate. Apparently, the big date is now May 6th, according to an interview slip by Defense Minister Bob Ainsworth today.

Now, for all readers and indeed many councillors who haven't visited the site, I would also draw you attention to the Office for National Statistics website, which has lots of useful local information. So if you happen to be a councillor, like me, looking for any manner of local statistics on population, poverty, housing, employment or more in and around your own ward, simply tap in the postcode and read-on. For example, my neighbourhood, had at the last census in 2007, an estimated 1,686 residents and 1,100 dwellings.

I have left a link in the sidebar in case you forget where to find it again.

Finally, I see that David Cameron, interviewd on the BBC Politics Show, said he hadn't yet been on holiday in Margate, Sandwich or Deal and so I think we should get this particular tourism bid in early!


Anonymous said...

I think it's a bad idea. As experts have warned all along, it could (& WILL) lead to vigilante attacks (how long before details are posted on Facebook?), with them going into hiding & police not knowing where they are.

DrM. said...

It's not necessary to release the personal details, only to quantify the level of public risk as sexual predators are notoriously recidivist as tragic experience of the past shows only too well!

Anonymous said...

anon again!

Repeat offenders should not be allowed to be free enough to be a threat to kids.