John Reid has attempted to regain the initiative on crime by pledging to crack down on convicted paedophiles.
He said that he was barring child sex offenders from bail hostels close to schools and said ministers were considering allowing the controlled release of information to parents about paedophiles in the area.
About 60 paedophiles have been moved from 11 hostels adjacent to schools.
Mr Reid said the Home Office minister Gerry Sutcliffe would visit the United States during Parliament's summer recess to research "Megan's Law", passed after the rape and murder of seven-year-old Megan Kanka, which gives parents access to information about paedophiles in their area. Mr Reid said: "Information should no longer remain the exclusive preserve of officialdom."
Mr Sutcliffe told the BBC: "The balance that we've got to strike is to make sure that we look after the public but at the same time manage these offenders."
David Davis, the shadow Home Secretary, told the BBC: "We have to protect the rights and the safety of children - that's paramount. But we must make sure we don't end up with some lynch mob law. And bear in mind we've had the Criminal Records Bureau failures, with innocent people being given apparent criminal records."
Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, said: "Every measure should be taken to protect children from paedophiles, but this should never topple into vigilantism."Reuse content