Parents Could Be Sent Paedophile Text Alerts

Parents could be sent text messages by police warning them that a paedophile is on the loose in their area under plans being considered by Downing Street.

The mobile phone alerts would be aimed at ensuring that families check on youngsters.

It is one of a number of ideas being looked at by Tony Blair’s Number 10 strategy unit as part of the Prime Minister’s policy review.

Other suggestions include the chemical castration of sex offenders and forcing prisoners to wear pink uniforms.

The strategy unit suggests ministers should look to other countries for ways of curbing crime and reducing Britain’s burgeoning prison population.

One of the unit’s papers, entitled Crime, Justice and Cohesion highlights how text messages were recently used by Dutch police to warn citizens that a paedophile had escaped from jail.

Other crime-fighting ideas which are being used abroad include prescribing heroin rather than the drug’s substitute methadone to addicts -as in Switzerland and rationing the amount of alcohol people can buy.

In Denmark, sex offenders are chemically castrated by being forced to take drugs which kill their sexual urges. In Texas, offenders are held in pink-coloured buildings and forced to wear pink T-shirts.

Other ideas include ID chip implants, the use of bounty hunters and enforced parenting classes.

In a section on community cohesion, the report notes that countries such as France have taken a ‘more rigid’ approach to engaging with ethnic minorities.

It said that openly religious symbols have been banned in schools and ‘illiberal hate speech’ is dealt with ‘very robustly’ through deportations and administrative harassment.

Another paper on Energy and the Environment confirms that the Government is looking at plans to introduce a so-called ‘bin tax’ which charges homeowners depending on the amount of waste they produce.

Mr Blair said that his policy review, which was launched last year, had generated ‘real enthusiasm’ among ministers.

He said: ‘When you are in the mid-term … you hit a time when all the emphasis is on the negative. But actually there is no fundamental change in the way that people are looking at the country.

‘I believe that provided we hold our nerve we will come through this and come through it with the renewed sense of leadership and energy and drive that we need.’

Environment Secretary David Miliband added: ‘Fourth-term governments are unusual for simple reasons of boredom and fatigue.

These are the perils of “governmentalitis” – too many red boxes, too many ministerial cars, too many “events”.

‘To win an unprecedented fourth term, Labour needs new leadership, new strategy and new culture.’

Downing Street has insisted that the Strategy Unit documents do not represent Government policy, but sets out ideas for ‘discussion and consultation.’