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Last Updated: Sunday, 5 November 2006, 13:37 GMT
Political backing for Mark's Law
Mark Cummings
Mark Cummings was sexually assaulted and strangled
A radical change to Scottish Executive policy could see families being told if paedophiles are living near them.

The move comes after a high-profile campaign by Margaret Ann Cummings, whose son Mark was killed by known sex offender Stuart Leggate two years ago.

The "full disclose" system will apply to those most at risk of re-offending.

First Minister Jack McConnell has visited the US to find out about Megan's Law, which discloses the whereabouts of offenders.

Mrs Cumming has campaigned for "Mark's Law", a variation on Megan's Law, to be introduced in Scotland.

Justice Minister Cathy Jameson is currently working with the police to bring in a new warning system.

I simply do not believe that it's the answer to the problems
Alan Baird
Dundee City Council

Mr McConnell now wants full disclosure, in the worst cases, to be part of this.

A spokesman said: "The first minister has asked the justice minister to examine options for publication and disclosure in some cases, particularly the most predatory offenders.

"He has a great deal of sympathy with the comments on public disclosure."

But to do this for every sex offender would be too burdensome on the police and other professional bodies, the spokesman added.

Mr McConnell was told on his visit to the US that Megan's law might have worked better had it been targeted at the most predatory paedophiles.

Rubbish chute

The first minister is also confident that if the new rules are implemented the right way, then the threat of vigilante attacks will not be a problem.

Eight-year-old Mark was killed and thrown down a rubbish chute by Leggate, who lived in the same tower block in Royston, Glasgow in 2004.

His mother wore a T-shirt bearing his image as she gave evidence to MSPs on the issue at a parliamentary inquiry earlier this year.

However, police and social workers resisted the disclosure rule when they gave evidence to the committee inquiry into the issue.

Margaret Ann Cummings
Margaret Ann Cummings has been campaigning for Mark's Law

Alan Baird, director of social work at Dundee City Council, said it would be a high risk strategy.

He added: "I simply do not believe that it's the answer to the problems.

"We've got to work openly with sex offenders - we cannot afford as a society for them to be driven underground."

The issue will come before the Scottish Labour Party conference in Oban later this month.

A party spokesman said: "Labour is committed to protecting our children from sex offenders.

"That is why we have strengthened the sex offenders register and ended unconditional automatic early release of sex offenders.

"We want to build on these measures and we will be bringing forward detailed proposals in our manifesto next year to make communities even safer."

Mother's Mark's Law plea to MSPs
03 Oct 06 |  Glasgow and West
'Mark's law' appeal heard by MSPs
13 Jun 06 |  Glasgow and West
'Mark's law' goes to justice MSPs
19 Apr 06 |  Glasgow and West
'Weaknesses need to be tackled'
24 Oct 05 |  Scotland
Sex offender alert system planned
24 Oct 05 |  Scotland

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