Unmasking the paedophiles

A SCHEME to unmask paedophiles is helping to prevent child sex abuse in Hartlepool and the surrounding areas.

The Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme allows parents and carers to get information about whether people in regular contact with their kids are registered as having previous convictions against youngsters.

And as reported by the Mail yesterday, 15 perverts have been uncovered to mums, dads and guardians since the scheme kicked off in March 2009.

This came after 156 carers, from the Cleveland Police force area, aired concerns to police and requested information about a particular person.

The scheme, which comes under the MAPPA umbrella, was launched by the Home Office as a pilot in Stockton in September 2008, before being rolled out to Hartlepool and the rest of the force in March 2009 and then nationwide.

Chief Constable of Cleveland Police Sean Price said: “The key objective of the pilot was about protecting children, and we know that a number of children have been safeguarded as a result of the work done under the pilot.

“We have always said that if just one child was safeguarded, the pilot would be worthwhile.”

A MAPPA spokeswoman gave an example of one mother who developed concerns about a man who had regular contact with her children because of comments he was making.

The spokeswoman said: “She made an application under the pilot to see if there was any history of offending to help her consider whether she was happy for her children to still have contact with this man.

“Checks revealed that the man did have convictions for child sexual offences.”

The government introduced the idea following a campaign by Sara Payne, the mother of eight-year-old Sarah Payne who was murdered by pervert Roy Whiting 11 years ago.

Nationally, mums, dads and carers urged police to reveal the backgrounds of 1,359 suspects, and 111 were revealed to have previous convictions.

A dedicated helpline for the scheme is available on (01642) 302902 and further information is available on the Cleveland Police website at www.cleveland.police.uk