Sex offender law will be strengthened: Boateng

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The Independent Online

Deputy Home Secretary Paul Boateng said today that laws on the treatment of sex offenders will be strengthened in the wake of a Sunday newspaper's controversial naming and shaming of paedophiles.

Deputy Home Secretary Paul Boateng said today that laws on the treatment of sex offenders will be strengthened in the wake of a Sunday newspaper's controversial naming and shaming of paedophiles.

He said tightening up legislation was the best way to honour the memory of murdered Surrey schoolgirl Sarah Payne.

His department promised on Friday to "urgently" consider improvements to the law after The News of the World said it would stop its "name and shame" campaign of publishing the names and photographs of paedophiles.

Mr Boateng said in a television interview that the law will be strengthened as the Government was continually seeking to improve the law regarding sex offenders.

But he insisted that disclosure of information about their whereabouts was still best handled by police and probation officers.

"We began a process in June of reviewing sex offenders legislation," he said. "Every year since the Government came into power we have taken action to better protect children. We continue to do so - the law will be strengthened.

"And that is the best way to respect Sarah's memory and all the other victims of these wicked and evil people and that is what we intend to do," he added.

Sarah's parents thanked everyone who had backed the News of the World's campaign.

"We have achieved a victory for us, a victory for Sarah's memory and a victory for every child in Britain," her mother Sara, 31, said in an interview with the newspaper.

The newspaper claimed the campaign was now "an unstoppable force", although it had suspended the "naming and shaming" element.

News of the World columnist Vivienne Parry told Breakfast With Frost that the paper had "a very clear strategy" about how to treat sex offenders.

"It is the controlled access by the public to information," she said. "So for instance if your child went to a nursery and you wanted to be sure that the nursery had checked out its employees properly, then you would be able to ask whether they had done that, and check that they have done that.

"And they, the nursery, would be able to get access to that information without charge in order to check on people who were working with children."