Sex offenders get chance to come off register

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The Independent Online

Up to 1,200 sex offenders will be able to challenge their life-long inclusion on the sex offender register under moves announced yesterday by Home Secretary Theresa May.

The announcement follows a Supreme Court ruling that indefinite registration could breach human rights. Ms May said the Government was "appalled" at the ruling and would "make the minimum possible changes to the law".

Under the plans, sex offenders may only ask to be removed from the register 15 years after their release from jail. Reviews would be led by police with information from the authorities involved in the multi-agency public protection arrangements (Mappa).

Crime and security minister James Brokenshire said: "Protecting the public is our number one priority and tough checks and a range of tools are already in place to manage known sex offenders. We recognise that we can build on this which is why we are seeking views on extending and strengthening the notification requirements which will further enhance our ability to manage offenders in local communities."

Mr Brokenshire also outlined plans that mean sex offenders would have to report to the authorities before travelling abroad. They will also have to let the authorities know if they are living in a house with children and must provide a weekly update of where they can be found if they have no fixed address. To ensure sex offenders can no longer avoid being on the register when they change their name by deed poll, they will have to notify police of passport, bank account and credit card details, and provide identification at each notification.

Harry Fletcher, assistant general secretary of the probation union Napo, said: "No doubt there will be no shortage of sex offenders who will want to appeal against being on the register because of stigma and shame.

"However it is highly unlikely that any will be successful."