Mother hails Sarah's Law roll-out
The mother of schoolgirl Sarah Payne has applauded the introduction of a scheme that seeks to protect children from paedophiles in the county where her daughter was killed 10 years ago.
Sara Payne said she looked forward to the Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme, popularly known as Sarah's Law, being rolled out nationwide.
Sussex Police has became one of more than 20 police forces to introduce the initiative, which allows parents to ask police if someone with contact with their children is a convicted paedophile.
Child protection campaigner Ms Payne said: "We welcome Sussex on board and hope that they find this to be another welcome tool in the child protection box. We look forward to Sarah's Law being national and then it won't matter where you live, you will be able to have access to the scheme."
A year-long trial of the initiative began in September 2008 involving four police forces -: Cambridgeshire, Cleveland, Hampshire and Warwickshire.
Sussex is one of the first forces to be part of the initial roll-out and it is expected that every force in England and Wales will operate the scheme by the end of next March.
It is a watered-down version of laws in the United States under which details of where convicted paedophiles live are actively publicised.
Ms Payne, whose eight-year-old daughter was found in a field near Pulborough, West Sussex, after she was killed by convicted paedophile Roy Whiting in July 2000, led a high-profile campaign calling for a British equivalent.
Under the Home Office scheme, 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. Police may also warn parents if concerns are raised by grandparents or neighbours.
As well as in Sussex, the scheme is also being rolled out this autumn in Northamptonshire, Staffordshire, Leicestershire, Wiltshire, Cheshire, Durham, Northumbria, Dorset, Lincolnshire, Surrey and Gloucestershire. It is already running in West Mercia, Bedfordshire, Norfolk, North Yorkshire, Thames Valley, West Midlands, Essex and Suffolk, and still operating in the pilot areas.