Sara Payne welcomes 'Sarah's Law' move into Sussex

Sarah Payne
Image caption Sarah Payne was kidnapped and murdered by convicted sex offender Roy Whiting

The mother of Sarah Payne has welcomed the introduction of "Sarah's Law" in Sussex, the county where her daughter was murdered by a paedophile in 2000.

Sussex Police has become one of more than 20 forces to introduce the Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme.

The scheme allows parents to ask police if someone who has contact with their child is a convicted paedophile.

"We welcome Sussex on board and hope they find this a welcome tool in the child protection box," said Sara Payne.

"We look forward to Sarah's Law being national and then it won't matter where you live, you will be able to have access to the scheme."

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Eight-year-old Sarah was kidnapped and murdered by convicted sex offender Roy Whiting in West Sussex 10 years ago.

He was jailed for life, with a 50-year tariff set by the then Home Secretary David Blunkett. The jail term was reduced by 10 years by a High Court judge earlier this year.

Following her daughter's murder, Ms Payne, from Surrey, led a campaign calling for a British equivalent of American laws under which the addresses of convicted paedophiles are publicised.

Under the UK scheme, parents can ask police 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.

A year-long trial of the initiative began in September 2008 involving Cambridgeshire, Cleveland, Hampshire and Warwickshire police.

Image caption Sara Payne campaigned for the law to give parents more information about paedophiles

Sussex is one of the first forces to be part of the initial rollout and it is expected that every force in England and Wales will operate the scheme by the end of March.

The scheme is also being rolled out this autumn in Northamptonshire, Staffordshire, Leicestershire, Wiltshire, Cheshire, Durham, Northumbria, Dorset, Lincolnshire, Surrey and Gloucestershire.

It is already running in West Mercia, Bedfordshire, Norfolk, North Yorkshire, Thames Valley, West Midlands, Essex and Suffolk, and the pilot areas.

"This will further enhance and support the child safeguarding and public protection procedures currently in place within the county," said Sussex Assistant Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney.

"Training has already been undertaken by all police officers and staff who will be involved in the process."

"Any information disclosed will only be used to protect those identified children and not inappropriately used."

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