Bethan Evans, Reporter
Friday, June 1, 2012
A SCHEME which allows concerned parents or carers to make checks on anyone who has contact with their children has been heralded by police after its the first year.
Sarah’s Law is named after Sarah Payne, aged eight, who was murdered in 2000 by convicted paedophile Roy Whiting, and was rolled out across police forces in England and Wales a year ago.
Avon and Somerset Constabulary has received 88 such applications forcewide since the end of February last year and has made 19 separate disclosures.
In North Somerset, 18 applications were made to the force and three resulted in a disclosure being given to the parent.
Detective Inspector Becky Causey said this scheme should be seen as a positive as it is about lessening the risks to children.
She said: “Sarah’s Law is simply that right to ask. There is an opportunity for people to use this information in a slightly more manipulative way and it’s not about that, it’s about lessening the risk. When we are disclosing information it is all about the necessity and the legality. It’s not about a free flow of information or for anyone who wants to go on a bit of a fishing trip.”
Det Insp Causey said check-ups always have to be made on what the applicants do with the information once it has been disclosed.
She said: “It’s not about us providing information and running, it’s about providing support. An example for this is, a family was contacted by her new partner’s ex-partner, giving her a bit of a rumour that she did not want to leave her children alone with him.
“He did have a conviction of possession of indecent images of children and had served his time on the sex offender’s register. The new partner made an application and a disclosure was given, because she was the person who could deal with that risk.
“As a result the relationship ended. She was in communication with the officer who did the disclosure several times and was very positive about the scheme. The Sarah’s Law scheme has been a success. It’s all about people being satisfied that they are given the information they have requested and using it responsibly.”
To apply for information on Sarah’s Law call 101, download the contact form from the police website or ask at an Avon and Somerset police station.