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"Today's deal lowers the temperature of the debate"
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The BBC's Sarah Montague
"It was a cheap price to pay to end naming and shaming"
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Friday, 4 August, 2000, 20:58 GMT 21:58 UK
'Sarah's Law' backing demanded
News of the World
The News of the World will continue to fight for 'Sarah's Law'
The editor of the News of the World has vowed to name and shame any politician who impedes her newspaper's crusade for tougher laws against paedophiles.

Rebekah Wade's pledge followed the newspaper's announcement that it was to halt its campaign of naming and shaming convicted paedophiles.

Sarah Payne
Sarah's body was found two weeks after she disappeared on 1 July
The Sunday newspaper launched its 'For Sarah' campaign following the murder of eight-year-old Sarah Payne last month.

But its decision to print photographs and the location of paedophiles was condemned by police and charities, who feared it would drive sex offenders underground.

'Serious consideration'

During the past two weeks several vigilante attacks have been carried out by angry mobs, some on people mistaken for offenders.

The News of the World called off the campaign on Friday but expressed "delight" that its campaign for 'Sarah's Law' to protect children from paedophiles had received wholehearted backing from the principle agencies involved in child protection.

The government issued its response through a Home Office statement: "The Sarah's Law Campaign proposals make an important contribution to the debate and demand very serious consideration.

"This the government will do urgently."

In a statement Ms Wade said: "This is a tremendous victory for every parent and every child in the country.

"As a result of our 'naming and shaming' campaign I believe the introduction of Sarah's Law is now inevitable.

"Parents will get the legal right to find out if a convicted paedophile is living in their neighbourhood. I have suspended our naming and shaming procedure as this vital development means it is unnecessary for us to continue in the newspaper.

"Our job now is to force the government to act - and we'll name and shame every politician who stands in our way."

'Long overdue'

Sarah's parents, Sara and Michael Payne, said they supported the newspaper's decision and want the government to take action in light of the paper's move.

Sara and Michael Payne
Sara and Michael Payne support the newspaper's decision
They said the proposed 'Sarah's Law' would "give back power to parents to enable them to protect their children".

They added: "This debate was long overdue and we look forward to hearing the home secretary's response to this decision."

Representatives of the police, the probation service and charities who had condemned the News of the World's campaign welcomed the news that the naming and shaming drive had ended.


The National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders was relieved that the "folly" was over.

Spokesman Paul Cavadino said: "During the past few weeks, the naming and shaming campaign has contributed to an atmosphere in which lawlessness has flourished, innocent members of the public have been targeted by vigilantes and defenders have gone to ground fearing reprisals.

Innocent members of the public have been targeted by vigilantes and defenders have gone to ground fearing reprisals

Paul Cavadino

Tony Butler, chief constable of Gloucestershire, who represents the Association of Chief Police Officers, said: "We have made a major step forward in our objective of improving the safety of children.

"Acpo has been working alongside the probation service and other organisations for many years to improve the safety of children and we've seen with the tragic death of Sarah Payne an opportunity to galvanise that support to take forward these issues much more quickly."

Phillip Noyes, public policy director at the NSPCC, said: "The NSPCC has been campaigning on child protection for a long time. Our hearts have been with the News of the World but we couldn't support their campaign.

"We are very pleased to give our wholehearted support for the 'Sarah's Law' campaign."

Death Threats

Stuart Kuttner, managing editor of the News of the World, said that many of his staff members, including editor Rebekah Wade, had received death threats after the 'name and shame' campaign's launch.

He said: "There have been a number of threats to a number of members of staff from exactly the kind of people you would expect these threats to come from.

"We have taken extensive security measures."

But he insisted that the decision to end the campaign and the threats were "entirely separate".

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24 Jul 00 | UK
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