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Last Updated: Sunday, 17 February 2008, 13:58 GMT
Sex Offenders named?

Jacqui Smith MP
Parents will be able to ask police about sex offenders
Jacqui Smith MP

Interviewed on BBC One's Politics Show, the Home Secretary said that parents will be able to ask the police if those who have access to their children are sex offenders.

Ahead of the publication of the Government's Violent Crime Action Plan tomorrow, Mrs. Smith said:

What we're announcing today is the first four police forces who will be able to take part in a pilot programme to look at the disclosure of sexual offences for individuals who would declare an interest perhaps in somebody who would have very close contact with their children.

So you know, the sorts of examples we've talked about previously is perhaps a single parent who has a new partner, perhaps somebody who has somebody who looks after their, their children and has very close contact with them.

That individual could then declare an interest and if there were any sex offences recorded against the individual in which they're declaring an interest, there would be a presumption that those should be disclosed to that person."

She added that there will conditions placed on the pilot schemes:

there will be, relatively tight conditions in place as to who can register an interest in receiving that information.

That will be something that will be considered by police and probation and precisely because we're putting in place the four pilots that I've identified today and we're working with children's charities, we're working with people like Sarah Pane to actually look at those pilots and make sure that this is actually working for the objective that we all want, which is to safeguard children and to actually make sure that the information is there in order to enable us to do it.

We're doing it in a sensible and measured way, but I think it is an important contribution to making sure that we can be confident that those 90% of sex offences against children, which are committed by people who are known to those children, can actually be reduced."

On knife crime, Jacqui Smith told the programme that longer sentences for those carrying knives in public would be enforced.

"I want people, if they're caught in possession of a knife, to face serious consequences, which is why we're looking at ensuring that if you're caught with a knife, one... the new maximum sentences that we have put in place, will be more likely to be given and secondly, that you'll be likely to be prosecuted.

She added:

"I'm clear that I think firstly we need to make sure that if you're caught with a blade, as an adult, that actually, you don't face a caution, but you face prosecution."

When asked about whether alcohol prices are too cheap, there was the following exchange:

JON SOPEL: ...So, just to be clear, you don't have a problem with alcohol being too cheap at the moment?

JACQUI SMITH: No, what I've said is that we, you know, of course I understand there is concern about the pricing of alcohol...

JON SOPEL: I'm just trying to get your view.

JACQUI SMITH:... that's why we have already. No, my view is that I think there should be action taken about irresponsible promotions, about the sort of pricing that is irresponsible and there already is action being taken, and we're reviewing whether or not that's working. And secondly, we need to look carefully at whether or not, and what that relationship is between price and alcohol and the way in which that interacts. I think it's right ..


JON SOPEL: What is irresponsible pricing?

JACQUI SMITH: Well, I think I've been pretty clear about that. You know, some of the promotions that we see where the industry is already taking action and we┐re already seeing success.

The Politics Show, with Jon Sopel on Sunday 17 February 2008 at 12:00 GMT on BBC One.

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