Sex Offenders  

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9/1/2005 4:52 am

Last Read:
6/22/2007 4:52 am

Sex Offenders

A senior police officer has called for people accused of sexual offences to be placed on the sex offenders register before they appear in court.

Deputy chief constable Robert Ovens of the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (Acpos) said it was an idea which should be explored in the wake of the murder of schoolboy Rory Blackhall.

His comments came after it emerged Simon Harris was awaiting trial on sex abuse charges when he is suspected of killing the 11-year-old boy.

The 37-year-old appeared at Linlithgow Sheriff Court in February accused of abusing three girls between 1993 and 2000.

Harris was released on bail, but failed to turn up in court the day after Rory's body was found in woods in the Deans area of Livingston, West Lothian.

A warrant was issued for Harris's arrest after he missed the court date, but police said they were unaware that such a step had been taken. He was not on the sex offenders register as he had not been convicted of any crime.

The case has sparked a political row, prompting calls for a change to the bail system and the sex offenders register.

Mr Ovens, of Dumfries and Galloway Police, told BBC Scotland it may be time for a re-think on the make-up of the register.

He said: "There is certainly a need to ensure that anyone who is subject to an investigation for a sexual offence and has been charged, that all the agencies are working together to share information and to make sure that any risk posed by that individual is managed properly and minimised to the wider public.

"Questions as to whether they should be placed on the register is something which needs to be explored, even if that is only on a temporary basis."

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