Daily Mail 17th February 2008
Parents are to be given new powers to check with police whether people given regular unsupervised access to their children have convictions for paedophile crimes, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said today. …It will allow single mothers to ask police whether potential boyfriends have child sex convictions before they start a relationship. And family members or neighbours who regularly look after children could also be checked.
The announcement has been hailed as a victory for the long-running campaign for a “Sarah’s law” allowing parents to obtain details of convicted paedophiles living in their neighbourhoods. The campaign was named after eight-year-old Sarah Payne, murdered in 2000 by Roy Whiting, who had previously spent time in prison for indecent assault of a girl. Police and probation services will have discretion on what information is revealed in each case and disclosure will be carefully controlled. But it is understood that if children are thought to be at risk, parents and carers will be told.