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The News of the World editor Rebekah Wade
The News of the World editor Rebekah Wade
BBC BREAKFAST WITH FROST INTERVIEW: REBEKAH WADE EDITOR NEWS OF THE WORLD DECEMBER 16TH, 2001

Please note "BBC Breakfast with Frost" must be credited if any part of this transcript is used

DAVID FROST: Now as we saw in the papers, the News of the World has upped the ante in its controversial campaign to name and shame paedophiles in the wake of Sarah Payne's murder. And now for her first ever television interview, is that true, yes, I'm joined by the Editor of the paper, Rebekah Wade. Rebekah starting with this, this Sunday and what's in the papers today, the, the pictures you published this week are different to the pictures you published when you first did this, then they were people who were known paedophiles and the police knew where they were, this, this occasion you're printing paedophiles that the police would like to know where they are and police asked you to do this particular set, is that right?

REBEKAH WADE: That's correct, I mean there are about 110,000 paedophiles and convicted paedophiles that live in Britain at the moment in England and Wales and only 17,000 of those are on the register. So that means that about 100,000 paedophiles who live in our community that we don't have the right to know where they are or who they are and unfortunately the police find it very difficult to monitor them 24x7 and often most of them go unsupervised. So as in the case of Roy Whiting, he was allowed to live in Littlehampton in the community and possibly always on the look-out for a young girl to abduct, in the end it happened to be Sarah Payne, it could have been any little girl. And he was allowed to live in that community totally unsupervised even though he had a previous conviction and served three years out of four, refused treatment for his problem and he was still released into the community and was at large.

DAVID FROST: But they knew where he was, Roy Whiting, they went straight to his house?

REBEKAH WADE: Yes they knew where he was but he wasn't monitored, that's the point. The fact is that if you have paedophiles in society that aren't monitored they will strike again and my point is if the police cannot monitor them then it is only right and fair, if you have a family with three young children and they put Roy Whiting next to you then you have a general right to know that, to protect your children.

DAVID FROST: But in this, in the case here David Blunkett says here, the News of the World's campaign for what has become, has come to be known as Sarah's Law, identified a range of measures and the government has already implemented seven eighths of them...

REBEKAH WADE: Yes that's correct.

DAVID FROST: And a similar thing you mentioned in the paper as well, but do you think you will ever get Sarah's Law through? Do you think you will be able to persuade David Blunkett?

REBEKAH WADE: Well of course I think we will, yes, I'm...

DAVID FROST: Do you?

REBEKAH WADE: Yes I do, I tell you why David, I think we will, is because at the moment Sarah's Law is, at the core of Sarah's Law that is left, today in the paper David Blunkett has announced that within in a year he will, he will pass through Parliament indeterminate sentencing. That means someone like Roy Whiting would not have been released and all the other proposals that we've won for Sarah's Law, things like when a paedophile is released into society now they have to register in person and within 72 hours and a photograph. But my, my, my point still remains that whilst there are 110,000 convicted child sex offenders in Britain living unmonitored then it is only right that the public have controlled access.

DAVID FROST: But in, just leaping in there for one moment, the people who object to the idea of Sarah's Law say either that it could do as happened in Portsmouth and so on, get a sort of lynch mob atmosphere going in the community, or some of the police say that it will drive people underground so they won't be able to find them the way they could find Roy Whiting and that, that in fact it will be counter-productive for those two reasons, lynch mob atmosphere and driving them underground?

REBEKAH WADE: Okay well let me just take Paulsgrove very quickly, Victor Burnett, a convicted paedophile, 140 assaults for raping young boys between the ages of four and nine, that's 140 assaults that he was convicted of. He was released into the community, he was put, rehoused in a council estate full of young children. What happened was when we printed his picture in the paper two parents realised that he had been abusing their children because he was totally unmonitored. Now my point is that, we at the paper are on the side of protecting children and not the rights of paedophiles and I strongly believe we're on the side of the right, the public are behind us and we will continue to make sure that people understand the basis of Sarah's Law which is controlled public access. It isn't a free-for-all, it isn't you're not, you can't walk into, into the police station and get a name, address and, and photograph. You have to go through strict procedure, you are risk-assessed to see if your family is at risk from the predatory paedophile that's amongst your society.

DAVID FROST: But in terms of, in terms of this, today you're naming and shaming people the police want to find. You've given up the previous thing of naming and shaming people where, where the police know where they are because there was a storm about that?

REBEKAH WADE: No I haven't given it up.

DAVID FROST: You might come back to that too?

REBEKAH WADE: I haven't given it up, we may, we may come back to that. But I am very confident that on Tuesday when I take Mike and Sarah Payne who despite the tragedy have worked tirelessly with me for the last 18 months in order to empower parents with the right to protect their children. I can't see why anyone would want to argue with that.

DAVID FROST: Thank you very much indeed Rebekah.

REBEKAH WADE: Thank you.

DAVID FROST: Thank you very much indeed.

END


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