Protecting children; OUR MAN IN WESTMINSTER.Byline: ROB MERRICK
THERE will be no "Megan's Law" introduced in Britain - although almost everything else about the Government's plans to control sex offenders is a muddle.
We will not know for certain for several weeks, but it appears parents will not - contrary to reports - be able to demand to know if paedophiles are living on their street or their school route.
A limited right to know will, it seems, be granted to single mothers who fear a potential partner may be a convicted sex offender sex offender n. generic term for all persons convicted of crimes involving sex, including rape, molestation, sexual harassment and pornography production or distribution. targeting their child.
But - and this is the crucial point - there will be no names, addresses or photographs published on websites for the entire community to view.
It is that freely-available information that lies at the heart of "Megan's Law" in America, and which has been blamed for driving paedophiles into hiding.
That begs the question why many people now wrongly believe they will be able to know if sex offenders live locally, and for that there is only one person to blame-Home Secretary John Reid John Reid may refer to:
Last summer, when Dr Reid took over at the Home Office, he desperately needed something to distract attention from damaging rows about foreign prisoners and "soft" sentences.
The News of the World's long campaign for "Megan's Law" fitted the bill perfectly - so the Home Secretary loudly proclaimed pro·claim
tr.v. pro·claimed, pro·claim·ing, pro·claims
1. To announce officially and publicly; declare. See Synonyms at announce.
2. it would be introduced here.
The Home Office had long rejected the law as unworkable, because publishing mugshots and driving child abusers underground would make protecting children even harder for the police.
Recognising the inevitability of lynch mobs, ministers instead struck the sensible compromise of placing parents on the neighbourhood panels that monitor sex offenders in the community.
All that was thrown into confusion when Dr Reid made his pledge, since when the paper has been desperate to claim its campaign has been won - when it clearly has not.
If, as seems certain, the Home Office review to be unveiled next month only grants the right to know to lone mothers worried about a potential partner, then very little will have changed.
Under existing rules, the Multi Agency Public Protection Agency (MAPPA MAPPA Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (UK)
MAPPA Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Program in Asia ), which monitors sex offenders in each area, will alert a mother if it fears her family is being targeted.
By promising something extra that he was never going to be able to deliver, Dr Reid has succeeded only in angering people on both sides of the argument.
"Megan's Law" supporters will be furious that nothing like it will be introduced - while children's charities are livid livid /liv·id/ (liv´id) discolored, as from a contusion or bruise; black and blue.
adj. because they fear something more dramatic has been slipped into the plans.
And all to get Dr Reid out of a hole for a few days last summer.
Limited right to know will be granted