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Last Updated: Sunday, 18 June 2006, 17:48 GMT 18:48 UK
New offenders law 'not necessary'
Ray Wyre, an expert in sex offenders
Ray Wyre highlighted work already done to protect
An expert in rehabilitating sex offenders says a government fact-finding trip to the US is a waste of money.

Ray Wyre was speaking about minister Gerry Sutcliffe's examination of a sex offender system in the US called Megan's Law.

The trip was not needed, he said, because the law has already been investigated by officials.

Eighty per cent of sexual abuse is on children in families, he said.

"They're not going notify the community about those men because they're not allowed to identify who the children are.

"And it just worries me that a new home secretary comes and doesn't appear to know what his department, his government has been doing for years and years, and why they came up with sex offender register, multi-agency public protection panels."

In the States they have got lots and lots of land, they can put people in various places away from schools
Michele Elliott
Kidscape

The home secretary's plans to move offenders has also been criticised by Harry Fletcher, the assistant general secretary of the National Association of Probation Officers.

He told BBC News: "Many of them would have been in the middle of various treatment programmes that will be disrupted.

"I've spoken to staff who are trying to find alternative accommodation for them and ... they are all going to other hostels that are less than a few hundred metres away from schools."

Mr Fletcher said there is no research that shows sex offenders located in hostels prey on children in nearby schools.

He said reoffenders tended to groom victims, often a family member, over a long period of time.

Professor Allyson MacVean, who advises the police on sex offenders and community safety, also does not believe ministers should follow the US model.

She told the BBC:"I don't believe at this moment in time it's necessary.

"We need to look at where paedophiles need to be housed.

"You know, if they are close to schools or parks, they should be removed and sensibly relocated."

Michele Elliott, director of the charity Kidscape, backed the concept of keeping paedophiles away from communities, but said there were difficulties attached.

"In the States they have got lots and lots of land, they can put people in various places away from schools, maybe even living in isolation," he said.

"Here, the problem is going to be where are we going house paedophiles when they get out of prison.

"In fact, should they be out of prison to begin with? Sometimes no, in fact, quite often no."


SEE ALSO
No 10 denies sentencing 'panic'
15 Jun 06 |  UK Politics
The story of Megan's Law
18 Jun 06 |  UK

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