Ruling to allow for sex offender register appeals
A ruling introduced by the Supreme Court two years ago yesterday became part of British law, after it was decreed that signing the Sex Offenders register for life, and without any prospect of review, was a breach of offenders Human Rights.
Sex offenders can now appeal against signing a police register for life. 15 years after their release from custody, they will have the right to request that their names be removed from the list.
Theresa May responded at the time, saying: “The government is disappointed and appalled by this ruling… We will make the minimum possible change to the law in order to comply.”
Today marks the 15th anniversary of the introduction of the Sex Register, which was initiated following public concern about increased reports of paedophile activity. Chief executive of the NSPCC Andrew Flanagan said: “Sadly, we are told this legal ruling cannot be overturned but the NSPCC’s view remains that paedophiles who have been put on the sex offender register for life must remain there as we can never be sure their behaviour will change.
“There is no proven or recognised ‘cure’ for adult sex offenders who abuse children and they must therefore always be considered a risk. We will monitor the appeals process closely and will raise concerns if we believe the civil liberties of convicted sex offenders are being put before the protection of children.”
Ms May has also asserted that regulations regarding sex offenders will be reinforced. They will have to alert the authorities before travelling abroad, something they needn’t currently do so unless their trip exceeds three days. Offenders must similarly report if they are living with a child under 18 years old and inform the police of their whereabouts weekly if they have no fixed abode. Measures will also be put in place to stop offenders avoiding the register by changing their names by deed poll.
Individual police forces will make the decision about whether an offender ought to be removed from the register. The government anticipate approximately 1,200 such appeals a year.
A Home Office spokesman said: “We are doing everything we can to protect the public from predatory sex offenders. That is why we have taken action to strengthen the law and close loopholes. The review process for offenders is robust and puts public protection first. It also prevents sex offenders from wasting taxpayers’ money by repeatedly challenging our laws. Sex offenders who continue to pose a risk will remain on the register for life.”