The police already disclose information about registered sex offenders and violent offenders in a controlled way to a variety of people including head teachers, leisure centre managers, employers, landlords as well as parents.
The difference between this scheme and what the police can already disclose is; that it introduces the principle of a two way disclosure by inviting people to ask about a person's history. It provides a formal way for people to make an application about a particular individual who has contact with a child or children.
The new scheme encourages individuals to take responsibility for the safety of their children. The two way exchange of information also alerts authorities to potential contact between a child sex offender and a child which they may not have known about.
Frequently Asked Questions
Parents, guardians, carers and other interested third parties such as grandparents or friends of someone who has a child. For example an application could be made by someone who has entered into a new relationship with someone and their new partner will have contact with their children.
An appointment will be made to speak to a member of staff who will discuss the application with you, complete the necessary forms, and ask you for proof of identification.
Once the forms have been completed a series of checks and enquiries are made to see what information exists about the person.
By making a request for disclosure, a person will also be registering their concerns about the possible risks to the safety of a child or children.
Everyone involved in delivering this scheme has the protection of children as their primary aim. Processes already in place to safeguard children remain unchanged and the police will work closely with other agencies involved in safeguarding children to always put the child’s safety first.
When the relevant forms have been completed and checks have been made, a public protection trained police officer will review the information available and submit is as part of existing Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements. The multi-agency group will then decide what information, if any, needs to be given out and who is best placed to have access to that information in order to protect the child. They will also decide if the person the information relates to should be told about the impending disclosure of information.
Information will only be disclosed if the checks made identify a need to protect a child and the disclosure is lawful, necessary and proportionate.
Disclosure includes the disclosure of information about a person’s convictions for child sex offences and any other relevant information deemed necessary to protect a child for example serious domestic violence offences.
It will be disclosed to the person best-placed to protect the child, and persons receiving the information must keep it confidential and use it only to protect the child concerned.
The person best placed to protect a child may not be the same person who has made the initial application so it may be the case that no information is disclosed to the person making the application but if there is a need to protect a child a third party may be given the information.
Details of a person’s previous convictions for a sexual offence or violent offence (where it is considered the person would pose a risk of harm to children), or specific intelligence which would indicate the person would be a risk to children.
If it is deemed necessary and proportionate to disclose information about someone, the person best placed to protect the child will be spoken to by a public protection trained police officer. The person who receives the information may not be the original applicant.
There are several stages to the disclosure scheme but the maximum amount of time a person would expect to wait to receive information, if they are deemed as being the best placed person to protect a child, is 45 days. Time scales will be largely dependent on what information relates to individual case.
The Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements consider a variety of factors including who has contact with the child and will decide who is best placed to have access to the information. This may be more than one person for example a child’s mother, father and perhaps grandparents.
In the event of the police disclosing information about an individual, they will strive to maintain the confidentiality of the applicant, and consult the applicant's views prior to contacting the individual concerned.
If a disclosure does take place the person the information relates to may be informed that the parent/carer/guardian of the child(ren) is to receive information about their relevant criminal history. All disclosures are carefully planned by police and partner agencies, to minimise risk of harm to all concerned.
No Megan’s law relates to public disclosure of the identity of sex offenders. This does not happen under the scheme. Disclosure is confidential and should not be shared with anyone else, and should only be used to protect the child. Anyone found breaching this confidentiality could have action taken against them.
No. Sarah's Law is a campaign being run by a national newspaper calling for a change in the law to give parents the right to know if a child sexual offender is living in their immediate area.
The police and other agencies are in regular contact with offenders and the disclosure process will be carefully managed. If an individual feels they are being targeted, they should contact the police. In all cases of disclosure, the risks to the offender and the community impact will be considered, however, the protection of children will be the key determining factor.
No, if you are enquiring about a prospective employee, or someone you already employ, then existing procedures still apply with the Criminal Records Bureau, or call 0870 90 90 811.
Safeguarding Children and Multi Agency Public Protection arrangements around making disclosures are unchanged.
Cheshire is joining the scheme following several other Forces who have previously piloted the scheme. The pilot schemes have indicated that the scheme is manageable within existing units as our trained public protection police officers do this work already.
If the person making the application lives in Cheshire then Cheshire Police will process the enquiry working closely with any other Police Force where the person being enquired about may live.