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EDITIONS
Sunday, 16 December, 2001, 19:34 GMT
Government stops short of Sarah's Law
News of the world
The original campaign caused outrage
Tougher action against sex offenders has been promised by the government but it will stop short of the so-called Sarah's Law demanded by the parents of Sarah Payne.

Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott ruled out the possibility of releasing paedophiles' names and addresses to parents, as demanded by the News of the World.

But he praised the newspaper's "public spirited" decision to publish photographs of seven convicted paedophiles, four of whom are on the run.

Roy Whiting
Children need protecting from recidivists like Roy Whiting
Earlier this week Sarah Payne's killer, Roy Whiting, was jailed for life. It emerged after his conviction that he had committed a similar offence in 1995 but on that occasion allowed his victim to live.

Mr Prescott said the News of the World had acted "more or less" like the BBC's Crimewatch UK programme by publishing the photographs of the seven.

Ms Wade and Sarah's parents Sara and Michael are due to meet Home Secretary David Blunkett on Tuesday to discuss the issue.

Writing in the paper, which began its Sarah's Law campaign after the murder of eight-year-old Sarah Payne, Mr Blunkett promised "stronger sentences" for paedophiles.


The fact is, that if you have paedophiles in society that aren't monitored they will strike again

Rebekah Wade
Nacro, the crime reduction and offender rehabilitation charity, said the News of the World campaign was "confused and incoherent" and said identifying sex offenders' whereabouts "would be a disaster for child safety".

Vigilante attacks

Mr Prescott told the BBC's Breakfast with Frost: "If you look at the News of the World today I think what they are doing is more or less Crimewatch, they are putting some people's faces up and saying 'look, the police don't know where these are, please can you help us', and that I think is a public-spirited approach."

Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott
John Prescott said the News of the World was 'public spirited'
He said the paper had been more cautious this time than when it began its campaign by publishing addresses of convicted child offenders, leading to "deplorable" vigilante attacks.

Mr Prescott said: "If you do it in the way they originally proposed in the News of the World, frankly it will drive it underground which (makes it) much more difficult to actually find these people and keep track of them.

The deputy prime minister said many parts of Sarah's Law had been implemented in England and Wales already, but there was "some disagreement" over the issue of public access to information on paedophiles.

'Right and fair'

The News of the World defended its decision to the publish paedophiles' photos, claiming four were supplied by the Metropolitan Police and the rest by other forces.

Editor Rebekah Wade told Breakfast With Frost it was "only right and fair" that parents were told of any child sex offenders who might be living unsupervised amongst them.
Rebekah Wade on Breakfast with Frost
Editor Rebekah Wade is backing Sarah's Law

"The fact is, that if you have paedophiles in society that aren't monitored they will strike again," she said.

Ms Wade said there were about 100,000 convicted paedophiles in England and Wales who were not on the police's sex offenders register.

She said many of those on register, including Whiting, often went "totally unsupervised" because of lack of police resources.

Ms Wade said the paper was continuing to demand full implementation of Sarah's Law - a range of measures including the ability of child carers to access details of any child sex offenders in their area.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's June Kelly
"David Blunkett is promising tougher sentences"
News of the World editor, Rebekah Wade
"There are about 100,000 paedophiles that live in our community"

Talking PointTALKING POINT
Sex offenders
Should they be named and shamed?
Full coverage of the trial

The verdict

Catching a murderer

Protecting children

TALKING POINT

AUDIO VIDEO
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