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Twenty forces introduce Sarah's Law

A scheme allowing parents to ask police whether a person in contact with their children is a convicted paedophile will be rolled out today in the county where eight-year-old Sarah Payne was killed in 2000.

Sussex Police is one of 20 forces to introduce the Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme, popularly known as Sarah's Law. A year-long trial of the initiative began in September 2008 involving Cambridgeshire, Cleveland, Hampshire and Warwickshire police forces.

It is expected that every force in England and Wales will operate the scheme by the end of next March. Under it, parents can ask police about anyone with access to their children and officers will reveal details confidentially if they think it is in the child's interests.

A total of 315 applications for information were made to the forces during the trial. From the details, 21 paedophiles were revealed, as well as details of 11 individuals with different criminal pasts, such as violence.