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A pioneering new scheme giving members of the public the opportunity to enquire whether an individual who has access to a child is a Registered Child Sex Offender is being rolled out across Sussex.
Sussex Police is one of 20 forces to introduce the Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme, which enables parents, carers and guardians - or other interested parties - to make an application for disclosure about someone who has contact with a child/children.
The scheme has already been piloted in four forces over a 12 month period, which ended last year. Sussex is one of the first forces to be part of the initial roll out and it is hoped that by the end of March next year every police force in England and Wales will operate the scheme.
Assistant Chief Constable for Sussex Police Olivia Pinkney said: "Sussex Police is pleased to be part of the next stage of the implementation of the Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme. This will further enhance and support the child safeguarding and public protection procedures currently in place within the county.
"Training has already been undertaken by all police officers and staff who will be involved in the process and will take all steps to ensure that any information disclosed will only be used to protect those identified children and not inappropriately used.
"As a Force we work extremely hard to safeguard children within our communities. If anyone has a concern about an individual then please come forward and talk to us."
In order to make an application, members of the public must either go into their local police station, call 0845 60 70 999, or apply on-line via www.sussex.police.uk.
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.
For further information about recognising the signs of child sex abuse members of the public can be directed towards the Stop It Now! helpline on 0808 1000 900.
Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme FAQ