sex offenders have been announced by home office minister Charles Clarke.
A major review of Part One of the Sex Offenders Act 1997 will look at
a range of issues arising from the registration requirements for sex
The review will look closely at how registration is being used and
make sure it continues to work both fairly and effectively.
Mr Clarke said:
'The government shares the concern of parents to protect their
children from sex offenders. The Sex Offenders Act 1997 plays an
important part in protecting the public, especially children, from
the pernicious activities of sex offenders.
'The Register has been enormously successful and has achieved a
extremely high rate of compliance. But we are never complacent
particularly where the safety of our children is concerned. This
review will help us identify any areas of weakness, however small,
and to make sure that everything that can be done, is done.
'But we do not want to drive sex offenders underground where they
could disappear from view and become more dangerous instead of
receiving the treatment they need. We must make sure the balance is
right so that while we protect our children the sex offenders are
given a chance to mend their ways.'
In particular the Review will look at:
- The range of offences covered by the Sex Offenders Act 1997
- how risks posed by sex offenders who travel between countries can
most effectively be addressed
- the registration requirements
Welcoming the review Tony Butler, ACPO spokesperson on sex offender
issues and chief constable of Gloucestershire Constabulary, said:
'The Sex Offenders Act is widely regarded, not only in the UK but
also abroad, as being successful. Indeed, a number of other countries
have expressed their interest in developing similar arrangements.
However, over the past two and a half years a great deal has been
learnt and the time is now right to build on the current arrangements
and explore how further improvements can be made.
'The ACPO Crime Committee has regularly reviewed and reported to the
home office on the Act and is pleased that the government has
signaled its commitment to further strengthening the provisions.'
The review team will comprise representatives from the home office,
other government departments, the Association of Chief Police
Officers and the Association of Chief Officers of Probation.
Charities, voluntary organisations and other bodies with an interest
in child safety will be invited to a series of meetings to discuss
the issues involved and to put forward their own suggestions for
A full public consultation, based on those discussions, will be
published early next year.
1. A copy of the Written Answer given by Mr Clarke to a
Parliamentary Question from Philip Hope MP (Corby) is attached.
2. The full terms of reference of the review's steering group are
3. Part 1 of the Sex Offenders Act 1997 requires anyone convicted
or cautioned of specified offences to notify the police of their
name and address and any subsequent changes.
4. The registration requirement is:
- not subject to appeal or review, except in the case of a
successful appeal against conviction or sentence for the
- retrospective inasmuch as it applies to offenders who were in
custody or under supervision in the community on the date of
- applicable throughout the United Kingdom and includes those
convicted by courts martial;
- of varying duration 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 10 years
- Failure to register could involve being sent to jail for up to six
months, a fine of E5,000, or both.
SEX OFFENDERS ACT 1997 - REVIEW OF PART ONE
To strengthen the operation and effectiveness of the Sex Offenders
Act 1997 in contributing to the protection of the public from sex
Terms of reference:
To guide and oversee a review of the operation of part one of the Sex
Offenders Act 1997 (the 1997 Act), including a public, written
consultation process, and to advise on any proposed amendments to the
- to address the findings of an evaluation of the operation of the
1997 Act (due to be published shortly);
- to consider the offences which should render an offender liable
for registration under the Act;
- to consider the position of those offenders convicted abroad but
travelling to the UK who are not currently required to register,
and of those offenders convicted in the UK, who travel, or become
- to consult stakeholders about any aspects of the legislation
- to submit initial recommendations to Ministers about any necessary
amendments in December 2000
- to assess the impact in terms of cost and effectiveness of any and
all proposed amendments to the Act;
- to consult stakeholders and members of the public on its
conclusions in line with guidance on consultation processes;
- to submit a final report to ministers in May 2001.
Written No 1
Mr Phil Hope (Corby): To ask the Secretary of State for the Home
Department, what plans he has to review the provisions of Part 1 of
the Sex Offenders Act 1997; what form the review will take; and over
what period it will take place. (127846)
MR CHARLES CLARKE
I am happy to be able to announce that the Government are
establishing a review of Part 1 of the Sex Offenders Act 1997.
Officials will shortly be setting up a small steering group, which
will direct the review and undertake a consultation process. Research
to be published shortly on the effectiveness of the Act will provide
an important, but not exclusive, background for the review. The
review will examine a wide range of aspects of Part 1 of the Act and
will include consultation with other government departments, non-
government organisations and the general public. I anticipate that
the steering group will report to Ministers at the end of the year.