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Sunday, 20 May, 2001, 16:57 GMT
Net protection policies
Labour

  • New police powers to take action against suspected paedophiles who use internet chatrooms.

  • Paedophile protection orders would be used to prevent named individuals who have been found, for example, to have lied about their age or sex making any further approaches.

  • A breach of the order would be a criminal offence carrying a maximum five year jail sentence.

  • Government backing for "child safety software" to be installed in all personal computers aimed at family market.

  • A "family friendly" kitemark symbol awarded to Internet providers who back the government's stance.

    Conservatives

  • Shadow home secretary Ann Widdecombe accused Labour of a "dereliction of duty" for rejecting Conservative proposals to change the law.

  • "If the evidence is there to show that a paedophile is attempting to lure a child in this way, he should face the penalty of the law immediately. No second chance."

  • Proposal for new offence of child "enticement" which would enable charges to be brought whether or not there was an assault.

  • Court powers to place sex offenders under supervision for life.

    Liberal Democrats

  • The Lib Dems say Labour's plans should have come "months ago".

  • They say the real problem is "shortage of police".

  • Paul Burstow MP said: "It shouldn't have taken the heat of an election campaign to do the right thing."

  • He claimed there was "little effective co-ordination between forces", with many having only part-time computer crime units.

  • Lib Dems would consult on introducing indefinite sentences for the most serious sex offenders, so that they would only be released following a court assessment of the risk they posed to society.

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