Sex offender disclosure scheme rolled out across Scotland

A sex offender disclosure scheme that was initially piloted in Dundee is to be rolled out across Scotland.

It will allow members of the public to formally ask for information about a named person who may have contact with a child if they have concerns that he or she might be a registered sex offender.

This information could then be disclosed if the individual has convictions for sexual offences against children and poses a risk of harming the child.

A high-profile campaign to introduce such a scheme followed the death of Mark Cumming, who was killed by a paedophile in Glasgow.

The disclosure of information about registered sex offenders is currently only done in a controlled manner, with the information being provided to a variety of people including teachers, parents and employers.

Fife will now become the second area of the country to implement the scheme as it is gradually extended across Scotland.

Leading the ‘Keeping Children Safe’ scheme in Fife, Detective Inspector Nicola Shepherd said: “Tackling sexual crime and protecting those most at risk in our communities are amongst our top priorities.

“The scheme allows communities to be involved and empowered in safeguarding their children.

“I would like to take this opportunity to encourage anyone to contact the police if they have any concerns over the safety of a child. All applications will be dealt with sensitively and in confidence”.

The initiative aims to increase the amount of intelligence that the police have in relation to sex offenders and reassurance to the public about the steps taken to keep people safe.

Police, local authorities, the Scottish Prison Service and other partners already aim to manage offenders in the community as effectively as possible and share their information to maximise public safety.

Theresa Stephenson, the service manager from Children and Families Social Work in Fife said: “This scheme will offer families further reassurance that all agencies in Fife are working closely together to protect children.”

Anne Pinkman, Chief Officer, Fife and Forth Valley Community Justice Authority said: “Fife and Forth Valley Community Justice Authority believe that the community sex offender disclosure scheme is a positive and welcome initiative that will contribute to and enhance existing child protection measures in Fife.”