National centre planned to house dangerous paedophiles

Ian Burrell@iburrell
Wednesday 12 August 1998 23:02

A GOVERNMENT committee set up to oversee the release of dangerous sex offenders is planning the first national specialist unit dedicated to housing released paedophiles.

The unit would be made up of two facilities, one a holding centre and the other a treatment centre, and would cater for 50 serious offenders.

The Independent has learnt that members of the committee are concerned about the public hostility to housing released offenders in the community and feel that a specialist unit is now the most viable option.

The difficulties in accommodating such offenders were underlined yesterday with the announcement that one of Britain's most notorious paedophiles, Robert Oliver, would not be allowed to stay at a halfway house in a Midlands village.

The Langley House Trust, which runs the Wing Grange rehabilitation centre for low-risk offenders in Rutland, said Oliver would not agree to proposed restrictions on his movements.

The news appeared to throw into chaos plans to house up to 150 paedophiles who are due to be released in the next two years without legal requirement for supervision. But yesterday Gill Mackenzie, a chief probation officer who sits on the committee - announced in May by Jack Straw, the Home Secretary, and consists of government officials, police and probation officers - revealed that a specialist paedophile unit was under consideration.

She said: "We are exploring the potential of developing a treatment and holding facility which are in close proximity to each other and can assist and support each other."

How to handle Oliver, page 6

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