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The BBC's Valerie Jones
"The paper believes parents have the right to know"
 real 28k

News of the World executive editor Robert Warren:
"It is not a stunt"
 real 28k

The BBC's Stephen Cape
"The News of the World has decided a campaign needs to be mounted"
 real 28k

Sunday, 23 July, 2000, 10:57 GMT 11:57 UK
'Paedophiles' list condemned
News of the World
News of the World published 49 names and photos
The News of the World has been criticised for publishing the names and details of "convicted paedophiles" in the wake of the murder of schoolgirl Sarah Payne.

It printed and put online the names, photographs and believed whereabouts of 49 people it says are convicted paedophiles.

There are fears the move could encourage members of the public to take vigilante action and may force sex offenders underground.

But the paper's executives defended the action, saying it is urging readers not to take matters into their own hands.

Sarah Payne's naked body was found in Sussex countryside last Monday more than two weeks after she was reported missing.

We're warning and alerting, but most definitely not inciting

Stuart Kuttner, managing editor
The News of the World has not printed the exact addresses of the 49 men and women listed in Sunday's edition, but it does reveal which part of the country they live in.

The information also appears on its website, and it says it will eventually publish information on 110,000 "proven" sex offenders.

But the National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders has called the move grossly irresponsible.

Policy director Paul Cavadino said it could mean children are put more at risk.

Sarah Payne
Sarah Payne was found dead in a Sussex field
"Past experience shows that when paedophiles are named in this way, they tend to go to ground, they move away, they change their names and the police often lose track of them.

"That means that it's harder to supervise them, it's harder to involve them in treatment programmes, and the result of that is more rather than less risk to the community," he told the BBC.

News of the World executive editor Robert Warren dismissed accusations that the story was an irresponsible stunt to sell more papers.

He said a Mori poll of 614 adults showed 84% thought paedophiles should be named and 88% would want to know if one was living in their area.

"Public opinion is very much on our side," he said.

Growing numbers

The charity, Childline, said there was a risk of people taking the law into their own hands.

The paper's managing editor Stuart Kuttner said: "We don't believe there's any room for vigilante action in a civilised society.

"We're going to call on our readers not to act in any unlawful way. What we're doing, to put it simply, is warning and alerting, but most definitely not inciting."

The newspaper said the law to control paedophiles was not tough enough.

Twelve thousand people are on the official sex offenders register, and police sources say that number growing by about 4,000 a year.

Tagging plans

The BBC's crime correspondent, Stephen Cape, says senior officers believe there is a loophole in the current legislation which allows convicted paedophiles to avoid registering on their release by constantly moving.

This makes it impossible for the authorities to know where sex offenders are living and whether they have access to children.

Meanwhile, the Home Office has revealed plans to tag for life the most serious child molesters when they are released from prison.

"This is intended to ensure that people who are a risk are not released," a spokesman told the Sunday Times.

MPs are to debate longer sentences and tougher requirements for convicted paedophiles to register with the local police this autumn.

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