Parents in Northamptonshire who are concerned about a child sex offender they believe may have access to their son or daughter are being encouraged to make a disclosure request to Northamptonshire Police.
The Child Sex Offenders Disclosure Scheme, also known as Sarah’s Law, was first piloted in 2008 and is now available to people living in Northamptonshire.
Under the terms of the legislation, parents can ask police for the previous convictions of anyone they believe is posing a risk to their child.
Detective Sergeant Gan Thayanithy, head of the Dangerous Person Management Unit (DPMU), said the scheme had been successfully used in the county for the past few years. He said: “People like to know who is a risk and do keep tabs on them
“With most child sex offence disclosure requests, if it is to protect your children, generally people will be told. If someone knows about a risk they can better protect themselves from it in the future.”
Mr Thayanithy said his team would never get it “100 per cent” right monitoring sex offenders and he encouraged the public to report any suspicious behaviour.
Due to the risk of his own staff being “groomed”, Mr Thayanithy said his staff were rotated on the visits to sexual offenders.
He said: “We rotate officers around so we don’t become complacent about that individual. There is a risk always that people that are good at grooming will groom us. So we make sure we change the officers every now and again. We rotate staff and supervisors.
Mr Thayanithy said as well as the regular visits to the homes of sexual offenders, his team would follow them in person if they believed there was an imminent risk to the public,
He said: “As long as it is justified, necessary and reasonable to protect the public, there are occasions when we will actually follow people.”
How unit tackles foreign nationals convicted of sexual offences
The head of the Dangerous Persons Management Unit said Northamptonshire Police does monitor foreign nationals who come into the county who have been convicted of a sexual offence in their home country.
Detective Sergeant Gan Thayanithy said the force worked with border control to monitor the movements of foreign nationals who may pose a risk to the public.
He said: “We do monitor foreign nationals with sex offences in their history.
“If someone comes into the country and we find out they have an offence in their history that would make them a sex offender in this country we can apply for a court order to make them a sex offender and they would be subject to monitoring.
“There have been a few occasions where people have not been let back in to the country after being identified as a sex offender,” he added.