Live updates

Avon and Somerset Police unmask most paedophiles

Out of the 708 paedophiles who have been unmasked using powers under the Sarah's Law scheme in England and Wales, Avon and Somerset Police recorded 42 disclosures, followed by Devon and Cornwall with 39, Thames Valley with 36 and Norfolk with 33.

A total of 49 identities have been released in Scotland.


Charities warn over paedophile identification

Charities and campaigners have expressed concern that only one in seven applications of paedophiles being identified have resulted in a disclosure and raised questions over how well the scheme is being publicised in the face of waning numbers of applications.

However, other groups said the figures highlighted a "worrying shift of responsibility" away from the state and onto ordinary members of the public in dealing with sex offenders.

Donald Findlater, director of research and development at Lucy Faithfull Foundation, said:

Given the apparent drop in applications since the start of the scheme, albeit small, we have some concern that people may not know the scheme is available to them.

We would like to see continued public awareness and publicity, whether by local forces or nationally by the Home Office, so that people know that this means of checking someone out exists.

Over 700 paedophiles identified under Sarah's Law

Around five child sex offenders have been identified to worried parents and guardians every week since April 2011. Credit: Adam Peck/PA Wire/Press Association Images

More than 700 paedophiles have been unmasked using powers under Sarah's Law since it was rolled out nationwide.

Figures released to the Press Association show, on average, around five child sex offenders have been identified to worried parents and guardians every week since April 2011 when the scheme was launched across the country.

And police forces in England, Wales and Scotland have received 4,754 applications from anxious parents and guardians who want to know whether people who have contact with children pose a risk - meaning just one in seven result in a disclosure.

However, applications have fallen since the scheme was launched, from 1,944 in 2011/2012 to 1,106 so far in 2013/2014, while disclosures have also declined from 281 in the first year to 122 in current year to April.