Police may warn of paedophile presence

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The Independent Online
New police guidelines to be announced tomorrow will enable officers to inform people about convicted child offenders living in their neighbourhood.

The Home Office will unveil measures to be used by police in an attempt to cut the number of child sex offenders in Britain.

The guidelines, to be revealed by the Home Office minister, Alun Michael, will outline circumstances in which police can alert the public to the presence of offenders. Measures include plans to keep paedophiles under close supervision for up to 10 years after their release from jail.

The guidelines follow a call from the Home Secretary, Jack Straw, for tougher action to protect children. Police will be able to warn school head teachers and organisations such as youth clubs if a sex offender moves into the district.

The way for the publication of the guidelines was smoothed by a High Court ruling last month that North Wales Police were right to tell the public that two paedophiles had moved into the region.

The measures are linked with a national register of sex offenders being set up under the Sex Offenders Act, to be launched next month. As offenders are convicted, their last known address will be entered into a police computer database and any change of address will be noted once they leave jail.