Website Names And Shames Missing Paedophiles
The most wanted website highlights five individuals
Some of Britain's most wanted child sex offenders have been identified
publicly today on a new website dedicated to tracking them down.
It is thought to be the first time that details of convicted paedophiles
have been published nationwide by Britain's law enforcement agencies.
The Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre has set up the
site, at www.ceop.gov.uk/ wanted to appeal for information about child sex
offenders who have disappeared off the radar.
They are not men wanted over unsolved crimes, but offenders who have already
served punishment and then gone missing after failing to comply with legal
restrictions on their movements.
Breaching these so-called "notification requirements" - which are conditions
of their placement on the Sex Offenders Register - is an arrestable offence
punishable with up to five years in prison.
Previously, law enforcement agencies have shied away from identifying paedophiles
for fear of inviting vigilante attacks and driving them underground.
For similar reasons, the Home Office has resisted the campaign for a
so-called "Sarah's Law" - named after the murdered schoolgirl Sarah Payne - that
would give the public access to details of sex offenders living in their community.
The CEOP centre stressed that today's move was not about "naming and shaming"
offenders whose whereabouts are already known, but finding those who have gone
missing and cannot be traced by the police.
Nevertheless, it is still an unprecedented step. The website will publish the
details of five missing offenders, including their names, ages, a photograph and
where they have gone missing from. Details of their convictions will not be published.
The initiative is running together with the Crimestoppers Most Wanted site, which
is designed to help track down Britain's most dangerous on-the-run criminals.
Jim Gamble, chief executive of the CEOP Centre, said: "The success of the
Crimestoppers' website in gaining the support of the public to help track the
UK's most wanted criminals is unprecedented here in the UK.
"Now we need to move a lot of that success towards protecting children and
safeguarding communities from harm.
"While it isn't new for the UK police to publish details of offenders on their
own sites, this is the first time that a nationwide - and indeed global - approach
has been adopted."
The failure of the offenders featured on the website to comply with the
authorities was an indication of a potential risk of reoffending, CEOP said.
"This is not something the CEOP Centre is prepared to accept," Mr Gamble added.
"We believe this new site will be an invaluable addition to the intelligence
tool kit when compiling information about child sex offenders.
"What we want to do is maximise every available opportunity to locate those
offenders who are actually 'missing' in order to protect children, young people
"I cannot emphasise strongly enough the need for the public to act responsibly
if they believe they know the location of a sought offender.
"They must make immediate reports of sightings so that the police can take
appropriate action. Any vigilante activity will be robustly dealt with and is
likely to constitute a criminal offence, resulting in arrest and prosecution.
"However, if you are a convicted offender and think you can escape your notification
requirements, or think you can move out of your region and go missing, then think again.
Your details may now be posted on this site."
"In our eyes you forego your right to anonymity when you fail to fulfil the terms of your
conviction. In the interests of children everywhere we will do all we can to track you and
The move coincides with the first anniversary of the Crimestoppers Most Wanted site, which
has received almost 40 million hits and led to 24 arrests since it went live last November.
There have been 659 appeals on the site since it was launched.
The FBI-style web page lists Britain's 10 most wanted criminals, and carries appeals for
information on others who have gone on the run. Currently, 32 police forces and government
agencies are signed up to the website and regularly provide appeals.