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BBC BREAKFAST WITH FROST HOSTED BY ANNE MACKENZIE INTERVIEW
VIVIENNE PARRY AUGUST 6th, 2000

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

ANNE MACKENZIE
Now the News of the World has given up on its campaign to name and shame paedophiles, lodged in response to the murder of the Sarah Payne. But the paper insists it stopped naming and shaming voluntarily, and continues this morning to push for a change in the law. Well I'm joined by the News of the World columnist Vivienne Parry. Vivienne Parry, you're claiming this - the newspaper's claiming this - as a major victory, but you have had to stop this naming and shaming campaign, and you haven't actually got anything concrete from it, have you?

VIVIENNE PARRY
We've had a meeting with the Association of Chief Police Officers, with a number of the agencies involved in child protection work, with probation officers, all sorts of agencies and we have formulated Sarah's law and because we have formulated Sarah's law and we are now absolutely committed and focused on pushing that through, there is no longer any need to name people in the way that we did before.

ANNE MACKENZIE
Well let's clarify, Sarah's law, as I understood it before, consisted of life meaning life for paedophiles, and also that the public should have more or less free access to any information about paedophiles moving into their area. Is that what you're saying that you have the agreement of the authorities for?

VIVIENNE PARRY
No, if you read the paper this morning you'll see that we have a very clear strategy, it is controlled access by the public to information about paedophiles.

ANNE MACKENZIE
What does that mean?

VIVIENNE PARRY
So, for instance, if your child went to a nursery and you wanted to be sure that the nursery had checked out its employees properly then you would be able to ask whether they had done that and check that they had done that. And they - the nursery - would be able to get access to that information, without charge, in order to check on people who were working with children.

ANNE MACKENZIE
But as I understood it, what you set out to do was a kind of a British Megan's law in which people are informed if a paedophile is moving next door to them or whatever. Do you still think that that's going to happen in Britain because of your campaign?

VIVIENNE PARRY
There will be a Sarah's law but it will not be exactly like Megan's law in the States.

ANNE MACKENZIE
So people would be misled, then, in believing that they will now have the right to be told if a paedophile moves next door to them because of your campaign.

VIVIENNE PARRY
No I don't think that's true. I think they will, there is still at, remains the discretion of the police, to inform people when they think it's necessary.

ANNE MACKENZIE
That isn't all that different to what's there at the moment though is it?

VIVIENNE PARRY
Oh I think there's a huge difference in what is enshrined in the law that - or the proposition for a law that's being put forward - it's not just about knowing where people are. There are a whole load of other measures, mainly to do with indeterminate sentencing, with strengthening the problems with the sex offenders register that there are, where people, if they offend and they don't register, then they get a slap on the wrist.

ANNE MACKENZIE
But you are confident

VIVIENNE PARRY
So there are all sorts of other measures that immeasurably strengthen children's position.

ANNE MACKENZIE
But in a word, you are confident that the public are going to have access to information about paedophiles that they don't have now, something like Megan's law?

VIVIENNE PARRY
They will have controlled access.

ANNE MACKENZIE
Controlled access - I'm still not sure what that means - but just before we finish, the campaign was immensely controversial and it did have casualties. Do you now feel that you should apologise to the innocent victims?

VIVIENNE PARRY
It was a high wire strategy, it was a high risk strategy, but it's a strategy that has paid off because that law, we will put all our weight behind it. I mean before we started nobody had got all those agencies together, nobody had the public support behind them. Now we have got that and we will go forward and our only regret is that we did not do this before.

ANNE MACKENZIE
But you have seen vigilantes in the streets, you've seen innocent families terrorised because of what you did. Now whatever, whether you think the end justifies the means, don't you think you should at least say sorry to some of these people?

VIVIENNE PARRY
We utterly condemned that action. We've always made it clear that what we wanted

ANNE MACKENZIE
But you started it.

VIVIENNE PARRY
We started it and we want to finish it and we want to finish it in ensuring protection for children. And that's what we will do.

ANNE MACKENZIE
I don't think - I don't think anybody would argue about protection for children but don't you, as I say, at least think that you should apologise to the people who suffered because of it?

VIVIENNE PARRY
I really don't think that those people - I think they will - I mean we're very sorry that it happened to them, but I don't think that at the end of the day we would have changed our action.

ANNE MACKENZIE
Very briefly - very, very briefly - if the government don't come through with what you want, do you start naming and shaming again?

VIVIENNE PARRY
I think we possibly do, yes.

ANNE MACKENZIE
Okay, Vivienne Parry, thank you very much indeed for joining us. Vivienne Parry from the News of the World there.

ENDS

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