Parents' powers to check on paedos
From: The Times 18.02.08
A watered-down form of "Megan's law" is to be trialled in four police areas, giving parents the power to check with police whether people given regular unsupervised access to their children have convictions for paedophile offences.
Single mothers will be able to ask police whether potential boyfriends have child sex convictions before they start a relationship. Family members or neighbours who regularly look after children could also be checked.
Police and probation services will have discretion on what information is revealed in each case and disclosure will be carefully controlled. But it is understood that if children are thought to be at risk, parents and carers will be told.
Despite feeling that the whole ‘Megan’s Law’ idea relied on an over-simplification of the complex situations involved, I suppose that a trial like the one proposed is the best way to sample such an idea. It’ll be interesting to see how it fares and whether widespread adoption is a feasible option, without inciting mass public panic, a culture of obsessive checking and paranoia plus a repeat of the ‘naming and shaming’ debacles of a few years back. Going forwards too, I suppose, it’ll be another test to add to the growing list for determining the suitability of new partners.