Criminals who have committed sexual offences against children will have to tell the police where they live and if they change their name or move home. If they fail to do so they could be jailed for up to six months, fined 5,000, or both.
Welcoming the implementation of the Act, home office minister Alun Michael said:
'Paedophiles devastate the lives of children, bring misery to their parents and can create fear throughout local communities.
and backed the Sex Offenders Act from the beginning. And that is why I have pushed to get the Act up and running as quickly as possible.
'There is no magic wand - so we will be open to new ideas and initiatives. In the autumn I will be working with ministerial
colleagues across Whitehall to see what else can be done to tackle this evil activity.
'I want to see how the sex offenders register operates and if changes are necessary then I will look at how it can be developed and improved. We owe it to our children to make sure that the system put in place to protect them actually works in practice.'
The Sex Offenders Act will help the police to protect the public from those who seek harm to children.
The registration requirement is:
-- not subject to appeal or review, except in the case of a successful appeal against conviction or sentence for the qualifying offence
-- retrospective and would apply to offenders who are in custody or under supervision in the community on the date of implementation
-- applicable throughout the United Kingdom and includes those convicted by courts martial
-- for different amounts of time and depends on the sentence given by the court. For example, anyone jailed for 30 months or more will be on the register for the rest of their life. If they are sent to prison for between six months and 30 months they would be registered for
The Sex Offenders Act 1997 received Royal Assent on 21 March
Part Two of the Act empowers UK Courts to prosecute people who commit sex offences against children abroad. The actions must be an offence in both the UK and the country where they were committed. It also comes into effect today.