Blair spokesman urges caution on UK version of Megan's Law

[JURIST] Any attempts to pass a British version of the US Megan's Law [BBC backgrounder] must balance the public's need for information against the security of child-sex offenders, a spokesman for Prime Minister Tony Blair [official website] said during a press briefing [summary] on Monday. Speaking on the customary condition of anonymity, Blair's official spokesman said there is "genuine concern" about the law. "The difficult thing in this is to get the balance right between, on the one hand, protecting the public and giving the public as much information as possible, and on the other, making sure that you don't have vigilantes," he said, as quoted by the BBC. UK Home Secretary John Reid [official profile] is pushing for the legislation, known in Britain as Sarah's Law, named after an 8-year-old murder victim [BBC report] killed by a former sex offender in 2000. Reid has announced that he is moving pedophiles out of halfway houses [News of the World report] near schools and is sending Home Office Minister Gerry Sutcliffe [official profile] to the United States to evaluate how the law works.

In the US, the federal Megan's Law [text, PDF] requires states to make information about people convicted of certain sexual offenses available to those who live nearby. The British tabloid News of the World has waged a public campaign [advocacy website] to pass a similar law in the UK. BBC News has more. From London, the Times has additional coverage.

 

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