Sex offender loopholes closed

By Alex Stevenson

Loopholes in the sex offenders register are being closed by the Home Office.

Ministers are taking action after the supreme court ruled sex offenders' human rights were breached by being put on the register for life without a review ever taking place.

The "minimum possible changes to the law" are to be made to comply with the court case, including requiring sex offenders to notify the police if they travel abroad even for one day.

A new consultation also proposes requiring offenders to inform authorities if they are living in a house with a child under the age of 18, remain on the register if they change their name by deed poll and report to the police every week if they have no fixed address.

Adult offenders are to be given a right to seek a review of their 'notification requirements' 15 years after their release for adults. Juvenile offenders will have to wait for eight years.

"It is our view that these measures provide a proportionate response to the supreme court ruling, ensuring that there is a robust and individual assessment of risk before an offender is considered for removal from the notification requirements," criminal information minister Lynne Featherstone said in a parliamentary statement.

"Sex offenders who continue to pose a risk will remain on the register and will do so for life, if necessary.

"Protecting the public is a priority and to this end, the Home Office continues to engage with public protection agencies to ensure that the risk posed to the public by sexual offenders is managed effectively."

Earlier this year David Cameron said he was tired of courts contravening "common sense".

The sex offenders issue is set against the backdrop of a broader clash between the coalition government and the European court of human rights. In February MPs voted overwhelmingly against a ruling that said prisoners should get the vote.