Sarah's Law comes to Thames Valley

3 March 2010, 14:51 | Updated: 4 March 2010, 08:43

Parents in Oxfordshire are going to be able to find out if someone their children come into contact with is a sex offender.

'Sarah's Law's going to be introduced in the Thames Valley in August after a trial in four other areas of the UK.  It's named after Sarah Payne (pictured), who was murdered aged 8 in 2000.

It allows parents and guardians to ask about people in their local area they have suspicions about.  They have to sign an agreement to keep the information they find out confidential, and not to launch vigilante attacks on paedophiles.

Detective Inspector Nick Deacon, leading the introduction of the scheme in the Thames Valley, said: "This scheme is an important development in protecting children. It gives members of the public the ability to checkout concerns they have about protecting children and will help increase public confidence in the police and other responsible authorities as part of their role in monitoring sex offenders.

"The United Kingdom has some of the most robust systems in place for managing sex offenders, and this new scheme will be another tool we can use to protect children and tackle child abuse."

Sarah's mum Sara Payne, who's now the Government's official Victims' Champion, and is recovering from brain surgery, said: "I am delighted that the years of campaigning and hard work by so many friends and colleagues have provided those who care for children with the right to check that adults who have access to them do not pose a danger.

"The evaluation has shown the huge benefits of increased but controlled access to information."