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Thursday, 17 August, 2000, 21:18 GMT 22:18 UK
Treat paedophiles in jail, says MP
Protest in Portsmouth
Further protests are planned in Portsmouth
A Labour MP whose constituency has been at the centre of anti-paedophile protests in Portsmouth is calling for sex offenders in prison to be given compulsory medication.

Syd Rapson, MP for Portsmouth North, said if paedophiles were forced to take medication while in prison, it might reduce people's fears when they were released.

He has written to Home Secretary Jack Straw asking him to consider a raft of proposals, which also include banning demonstrations after dark and stopping children from joining the protests.

Police officers guard a home in Portsmouth
Police have been called in to guard homes targeted by the mobs.
He said his action was prompted by the shocking nature of the night-time marches to "out" convicted paedophiles living on the Paulsgrove estate in Portsmouth.

Other proposals are longer sentences for convicted paedophiles, banning sex offenders from living near their victims, indefinite tagging and improving Probation Service resources.

The Paulsgrove estate saw violent outbursts and demonstrations after the News of the World launched its campaign of "naming and shaming" convicted paedophiles following the murder of Sarah Payne.

Homes and property of suspected sex offenders were targeted and damaged as 'peaceful' protests got out of hand and 24 people were arrested.

Petrol bombs

Seven days of protest by families and children ended a week ago when the council agreed to re-house sex offenders or anyone else who felt threatened.

Mr Rapson said he was concerned about plans for further protests on the estate, which he said were unnecessary.

He said on previous protests police had been forced to use CS gas to control the crowds, which had been armed with petrol bombs.

Protest spokeswoman, Katrina Kessel, said a candlelit vigil was being organised in Paulsgrove Park on Saturday evening.

She said it was in remembrance of all children abused or murdered by sex offenders.

"We've not forgotten about our cause and it is to bring it home to people who were on the marches what it was about," she said.

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