Q607: Can you tell me if there are any registered sex offenders in my area and about Sarah's law?
Details of registered sex offenders are kept on a register for the Police only, it is not for public access. If you have any concerns over the activities of a local resident then you should speak to your local police force.
The Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme (Sarah's law) allows members of the public to make a request that the police investigate a person. Anyone who looks out for the welfare of a child can make an enquiry. This can include parents, carers, guardians, extended family, friends and neighbours.
Disclosures however, will only be given to the person best placed to protect the particular child or children and who needs to know the details in order to keep the child safe, usually a parent, carer or guardian.
Once an application for an investigation has been made the police will require the applicant to specify the grounds for the investigation and the nature of the relationship between the applicant and the child, the applicant and the individual and the individual and the child. The applicant will be invited to an interview with the police where matters will be enquired into further.
Whilst the police have a duty to explore the request, there is no requirement for the police to disclose any information and all requests for information about named individuals will be discussed by the police, probation and safeguarding children staff in order to determine whether the release of information will provide additional protection for the child(ren ) in question.
If information is disclosed, the applicant will be required to sign a confidentiality agreement and be subject to sanctions should any unlawful disclosure be made. See link in related information for more details.