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EDITIONS
Tuesday, 18 December, 2001, 15:20 GMT
Paynes 'positive' after meeting
Sara and Michael Payne
Discussions on Sarah's Law will continue in the New Year
The parents of murdered schoolgirl Sarah Payne are to continue their campaign for public access to the sex offenders register after a "productive" meeting with the home secretary.

Michael and Sara Payne met David Blunkett at the Home Office on Tuesday afternoon. They were accompanied by News of the World editor Rebekah Wade.


What we want is for parents to find out if their children are safe in their area

Sara Payne
The couple said the current system of information about paedophiles was a "mess" and needed to be more uniform.

They will be meeting Mr Blunkett again in the New Year to try and convince him of the need for "Sarah's Law" - to give people information on the whereabouts of convicted sex offenders.

When Sarah's killer, Roy Whiting, was jailed for life last week it emerged he had committed a similar offence in 1995.

After the meeting Mrs Payne said Mr Blunkett remained unconvinced that Sarah's Law would help protect children from paedophiles.

Sarah Payne
Sarah Payne's murder shocked the nation

"We need to convince him that it will," she said.

"What we want is for parents to find out if their children are safe in their area."

She insisted she did not want a information free-for-all over the register.

Earlier she told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: "We are not asking for unlimited access to the register, we are asking for controlled access, which would mean that you would have to apply for this information and if the police deemed that it was OK for you to have it, then you would get it.

"It would be only about the most predatory paedophiles in your area."

She said that if she had known that Whiting was in the area, she would not have let the children play on their own.

'Driven underground'

Mr Payne added: "You would be vetted by the police, basically.

"You would go down and as long as you have got a family and you have got good reason to want to know, then the police should deem fit to give it (the information) to you." Editor, News of the World

It is only right that the public has controlled access

Rebekah Wade

But Terry Grange, spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers, said naming paedophiles will drive them underground.

He said 97% of those who should register on the sex offenders list had done so.

"Because we know where they are, we are able to conduct assessments as to the risk they pose, monitor their movements, treat them where possible and manage them to the best of our ability," said Mr Grange.

"If they disappear we won't know what's happened to them."

Writing in the News of the World on Sunday, Mr Blunkett said he was prepared to let community representatives join the "experts and professionals" on local protection panels which manage sex offenders in the community.

Arrested

The paper has vowed to continue its campaign for the full implementation of Sarah's Law.

At the weekend, the News of the World published photographs of a number of convicted paedophiles who it said were missing from their last known address.

But the BBC has learned the move has upset the National Probation Service, which plans to ask Scotland Yard why it released the pictures without consulting them.

One of the men whose picture appeared in the paper - 25-year-old Tuan Quang Ho - has been arrested for questioning about an alleged failure to abide by the conditions of the sex offenders register.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Duncan Kennedy
"They were now back to push for parent power on a wider scale"
Sara Payne
"What we want is for parents to find out if their children are safe"
Full coverage of the trial

The verdict

Catching a murderer

Protecting children

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