Sex offender disclosure scheme to launch in Devon

A sex offender disclosure scheme is to be launched by police in Devon next month.

A CHILD sex offender disclosure (CSOD) scheme will be rolled out by Devon and Cornwall Police.

The new scheme, which is being launched on March 31, will allow those worried about people who have contact with a child they know to ask police if the individual has a record for child sexual offences.

It was initially piloted in areas such as Cambridgeshire, Cleveland, Hampshire and Warwickshire and was extended to North Yorkshire, Thames Valley, West Mercia and the West Midlands.

The scheme has been put in place to allow parents, carers, guardians or other interested parties to check the background of someone who has access to their children.

Information may disclosed if the individual has convictions of sexual offences against children or pose a risk of causing harm to the child or children.

Force lead DCI David Thorne said implementation of the scheme hands power to members of the public.

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He said: “What information is disclosed will depend on individual circumstances. Each enquiry will be treated in confidence and with sensitivity, with officers having received specialist training.

“The scheme shows that police work well alongside its partners in other statutory and voluntary agencies to keep children safe.

“Preparation for this scheme’s nationwide implementation has highlighted another good example of the police working alongside other statutory and voluntary agencies with a common aim in mind – keeping children safe.”

In the four pilot areas a total of 585 enquiries were made resulting in 315 applications.

From these applications there were 21 disclosures about registered child sex offenders and 11 general disclosures, for example in cases relating to protection issues linked to violent offending.

A further 43 cases saw a range of other child safeguarding actions, such as referrals to children’s social care, take place.