Wednesday, July 3, 2013

AUSTRALIA - Police Minister says sex offender website is working

Sex Offender Registry, Flag and Laptop
Original Article


By Michael Hopkin

Ten missing sex offenders have been caught by the state government's sex offender register since the website was launched last October.

WA Police Minister Liza Harvey said there have been almost 100,000 hits on the website, which lists convicted sex offenders who have breached their reporting conditions.

Since the launch, police have reconnected with 10 sex offenders who had absconded or failed to report regularly to police.

"It brings them back into compliance, which is where we want them, frankly," Mrs Harvey said.

Police said not all of the ten offenders were at large in WA. Some were foreign nationals who had returned home but failed to notify police that they were permanently leaving the state.

The website sparked controversy when it launched last year amid fears that it would provoke vigilantism.

But Mrs Harvey said there had been no reports of community members taking matters into their own hands.

"We placed a great deal of trust in the community when we launched this site," she said.

Police do not allow the photographs and details featured on the site to be reproduced anywhere else, including in the media.
- The US should also do this to stop all the extortion & bullying web sites.

The Tier 1 section of the website, which lists pictures and identifying details of missing sex offenders, has been the most popular section of the site, attracting almost 60,000 hits.

The 10 sex offenders contacted by police were either already listed or about to be listed on this section of the site.

There are currently a further 10 missing offenders listed on the page, some of whom have been out of contact with police for more than a year.

The website's Tier 2 section allows users to request details of how many "reportable" sex offenders live in the suburbs around their home.

These are sex offenders who have reoffended, or who have committed particularly serious crimes. Police say WA has about 50 such people in this category.

The third tier of the website allows parents to request a check on anyone who has unsupervised access to their child, and to be notified if they are listed as a sex offender.

This service has had just seven requests. Six have been returned as negative, and one is still pending.

Ms Harvey said WA Police had been contacted by the Queensland government for information about how the website was working.

No other state or territory currently has a similar scheme.

Mrs Harvey said the website complements the state government's other measures, including GPS tracking of some dangerous sex offenders.

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