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Last Updated: Sunday, 25 November 2007, 01:47 GMT
Sex offender photos posted on web
CEOP website
The site has been used by English forces since last year
Images of missing sex offenders can now be published by Scottish police on an international "most-wanted" website.

The move will make photographs of high-risk offenders who fail to comply with the authorities available to police forces across the world.

Pictures and a full profile of the suspect can be viewed by the public on the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre's website.

The website has been used by police in other parts of the UK since late 2006.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said the site was a "powerful new tool."

He added: "We will not forget that, despite the progress, tragedies still happen. Cases which show why we must remain ever vigilant.

"To protect our communities, we are sending a clear message to every sex offender in the land - if they are given the right to be released they must take responsibility for their own actions.

"For the few who fail to comply we will crack down with the full force of the law. Those given rights have responsibilities."

Quite simply if a sex offender goes missing, and fails to comply, then they can expect the response to be swift, tough and increasingly visible
Kenny MacAskill
Justice minister

The site can now be used following a formal agreement between the Crown Office, the Association of Chief Police Officers, the CEOP Centre and Crimestoppers.

The agreement makes it clear that, following legal consideration, the photographs of individuals who have failed to comply with the requirements of the sex offenders' register can be published.

Mr MacAskill said: "I made clear to parliament this summer that I believed it was appropriate to publish photographs of missing sex offenders on the internet and elsewhere.

"Quite simply if a sex offender goes missing, and fails to comply, then they can expect the response to be swift, tough and increasingly visible."

Lord Advocate Elish Angiolini QC said decisions to release photographs would not be taken lightly and this would only be done when there was an overriding public safety need.

She added: "In appropriate circumstances I am sure that the internationally-recognised Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre's most wanted website will be a valuable tool for law enforcement agencies and will help provide public reassurance."

Tayside Assistant Chief Constable Iain MacLeod said: "Scottish police forces will continue to liaise with the Crown Office prior to the release of such photographs in order to prevent the jeopardisation of any future court proceedings.

"The Scottish Police Service will utilise this facility with appropriate consideration for public safety."


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