Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sex offenders will be named & shamed on web the title reads .. and let's have some more naming & shaming of criminals from all walks of life too !

Scotland on Sunday reports :

Sex criminals named and shamed


SEX offenders who go on the run in Scotland will be named and shamed on the internet in a bid to stop them striking again.

Scottish police have from today been given permission to publish photographs and details of missing sex offenders on a dedicated web page which can be accessed by the public.

Legal chiefs north of the Border have long resisted the move for fear of prejudicing trials and vigilante justice. But they have backed down amid growing concern that communities are needlessly exposed to risk from on-the-run sex criminals.

The move will apply to people on the sex offenders' register who breach the terms of registration, typically by leaving their known address without telling police. To have their photograph put on the website, they will also have to be judged a danger to the public.

The system has operated south of the Border for more than a year and is being implemented in Scotland after ministers and the Crown Office reached an agreement.

In England, the use of online photographs has resulted in nine offenders - on the run for a total of 20 years - being caught and returned to jail.

Earlier this year, sex offender William Graham, 33, absconded from Hartwoodhill hospital, Lanarkshire. Although he has since been caught, the new system would allow for his photograph and details to be made immediately available online. Dozens of offenders disappear every year in Scotland and until today the law has usually protected their identities.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said: "We are sending a clear message to every sex offender in the land, if they are given the right to be released they must take responsibility for their own actions. If they fail to comply, then they can expect the response to be swift, tough and increasingly visible."

Lord Advocate Elish Angiolini added: "Decisions to release photographs about sex offenders can never be taken lightly and this can only be done when it is clear that there is an over-riding public safety requirement."

The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, which has run the dedicated website for a year, claims to have registered 72.6 million hits.

Chief Executive Jim Gamble said: "Offenders often use technology to target their victims. Well, we use technology to now target them and it works."

Assistant Chief Constable of Tayside Iain MacLeod added: "The Scottish Police Service has worked for an extensive period with the Scottish Government to arrange to have the potential to have photographs published."

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