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Sarah's Law in Kent
Kent parents have new powers from today to find out if anyone working closely with their child is a registered sex offender.
Kent Police has become part of the Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme, which means it can pass on information to worried parents, carers or guardians.
The scheme, known as Sarah's Law, is a watered-down version of an American system in which details of where convicted paedophiles live are actively published.
The UK scheme came about after a high-profile campaign led by Sara Payne, whose 8 year old daughter Sarah was abducted and killed by convicted paedophile Roy Whiting in July 2000.
Parents can apply to the police for information about anyone with access to their children and officers will reveal details confidentially if they think it is in the child's interests.
Police may also warn parents if concerns are raised by grandparents or neighbours.
Detective Superintendent Maria Shepherd of Kent Police's Public Protection Unit said: "'We are determined to do everything possible to protect children and families from harm in our communities. The implementation of the Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme is a major step forward in our ability to protect children from sex offenders.
'It is important to state that we already have a robust system for the management of sex offenders, but this new scheme will build on that. It provides a formal mechanism for empowering families and others in helping to protect children.'
Anyone wanting to apply for information should visit their local police station, or call the Kent Police non-emergency number 01622 690690 (unless you believe a child is in immediate danger, then you should call 999.)
All applications will be verified to ensure they comply with the criteria. Disclosure cannot be guaranteed in all cases, but the safeguarding of children will be the key determining factor and disclosure will usually be made to those people who are in the best position to protect a child from harm such as parents, carers or guardians.
Click here for more information from Kent Police about the scheme.
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