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Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Keeping children safe: your right to ask for a police check

If you are worried about someone in your child’s life, you can get them checked by the police to see if they have a record of child sexual offences. Find out what you need to do to get someone checked.

How to ask for a check

The child sex offender disclosure scheme means anyone can ask for a police check on someone they are worried about. Simply call or visit your local police station for more information. To actually make an application, you will need to visit your local police station in person. At the police station, you will need to:

  • show some ID, for example your passport or driving licence
  • tell the police what your relationship to the child is
  • say why you want to have this particular person checked

Who the scheme is for

The scheme is for anyone who wants to find out if someone in contact with a child has a record of child sexual offences. You could be a family member, friend, neighbour or anyone that’s worried about the child.

Of course, if anyone is worried about the safety of a child then they can and should report that to the police right away. And if you think a child is in immediate danger, always call the police on 999.

Why this is needed

The majority of child sexual offenders are known to their victims. They are often a friend of the victim’s family, a friend of the victim, or a member of the victim’s family.

Where the scheme is available

The scheme is currently available in 24 police forces. A list of the forces running the scheme is below:

  • Bedfordshire
  • Cambridgeshire
  • Cheshire
  • Cleveland
  • Dorset
  • Durham
  • Essex
  • Gloucestershire
  • Hampshire
  • Leicestershire
  • Lincolnshire
  • Norfolk
  • Northamptonshire
  • North Yorkshire
  • Northumbria
  • Staffordshire
  • Suffolk
  • Surrey
  • Sussex
  • Thames Valley
  • Warwickshire
  • West Mercia
  • West Midlands
  • Wiltshire

What if your local police force isn’t offering the scheme?

All remaining police forces in England and Wales will have the chance to join the scheme before March 2011.

In the meantime, if you’re concerned about the safety of a child you should go to any police force about your concerns.

If a child is in immediate danger you should always call 999.

What if the check shows something?

If the check shows a record for child sexual offences, or other offences that might put the child at risk, the police may share this information. However, this information will only be shared with the people best placed to protect the child. This will usually be the child’s parent, carer or guardian. The information might not be shared with the person who made the enquiry.

Further information

If you need immediate advice, you can contact the following:

  • Stop it Now! - telephone 0808 1000 900
  • NSPCC - telephone 0808 800 5000

If you need any advice or support there are a number of other organisations that can help you.

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