BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: UK
Front Page 
World 
UK 
England 
Northern Ireland 
Scotland 
Wales 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 



The BBC's Stephen Cape
"The decision has been called grossly irresponsible"
 real 28k

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

Chief Constable Tony Butler
This will put more children at risk"
 real 28k

Sunday, 23 July, 2000, 19:48 GMT 20:48 UK
Top policeman condemns shame list
News of the World
News of the World published 49 names and photos
One of the UK's most senior police officers says children's lives could be put at risk by the News of the World's decision to "name and shame" thousands of convicted paedophiles.

The paper has launched a campaign to identify 110,000 child sex offenders living in Britain

Chief Constable of Gloucestershire Constabulary, Tony Butler, said the move could make the sex offenders more dangerous - a view backed by Gill Mackenzie, chair of the Association for Chief Probation Officers of Probation.


Past evidence suggests that the publication of such information causes serious breaches of child protection

Chief Constable Tony Butler

The paper's executives have defended the campaign and say it's aim is to alert the public, not produce "a charter for vigilantes".

Mr Butler said he had held lengthy meetings with staff from the newspaper in an attempt to get them to drop the campaign.

He said it could seriously breach child safety by driving sexual offenders underground.

"Anonymity is an essential element of the sex offenders register and I strongly pointed out what the possible pitfalls of publication were to the News of the World staff," he said.

'Saddened'

"I am saddened to see that they have ignored my advice and published without any evidence that by doing so children's safety would be enhanced.

"Past evidence suggests that the publication of such information causes serious breaches of child protection."

Ms Mackenzie warned that the paper's campaign could cause parents to underestimate where the more likely dangers lie.

Sarah Payne
Sarah Payne was found dead in a Sussex field
Many abusers do not have a criminal record and are known to the families of their victims.

"It can lead parents to think that the only danger is from convicted known paedophiles," she said.

"This newspaper hasn't filled a void, it has actually torn a rent in the fabric of child protection.

The campaign has been launched in the wake of the murder of eight-year-old Sarah Payne in West Sussex.

The names and photographs of 49 known sex offenders were printed in the paper on Sunday and published on the website. Further lists are due to be printed.

'Misleading'

Childline, the National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (Nacro) and NCH Action for Children have condemned the move as grossly irresponsible.

But the campaign is supported by the National Association of Ex-Offenders.

Chief Probation Officer Gill Mackenzie
Chief Probation Officer Gill Mackenzie: Campaign is "dangerous"
Chief executive Mark Leech said sex offenders were different to other types of offenders.

"The problem with paedophiles is that our society continues to see them as criminals to be punished rather than psychiatric patients that need treatment," he said.

"The horror of the current approach is that we have to release them at the end of their sentence, even if all the evidence suggests they will simply go out and re-offend - our children deserve better protection from us than that."

A spokeswoman for the News of the World defended the paper's position.

She said its own research showed at least 64% continued to re-offend despite monitoring arrangements by police and probation services.

"Through no fault of the police or the probation services the system quite simply fails."

She claimed posting violent sex offenders' names on the internet in one American state had drastically reduced the re-offending rate.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
Links to more UK stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more UK stories