U.K. Pilot Program Allows Parents to Check On Pedophiles

Britain's home secretary said Saturday parents will be allowed to check whether people with regular access to their children are convicted pedophiles.

Jacqui Smith said police will introduce the pilot project this summer in four regions and if successful it could be rolled out across England and Wales.

"Four police forces will start schemes that allow a child's parents or guardians to be informed if someone they are having a personal relationship with has previous convictions for child sex offenses," Smith wrote in The News of World newspaper.

The program will allow single mothers to ask whether potential boyfriends have child sex convictions before they start a relationship, Smith said. Relatives or neighbors who regularly look after children could also be checked.

The newspaper welcomed the announcement as a victory in its long-running campaign for a "Sarah's Law" allowing parents to obtain details of convicted pedophiles in their neighborhoods.

"Sarah's Law" was named after 8-year-old British girl Sarah Payne, murdered in 2000 by a pedophile. It is modeled on "Megan's Law," the U.S. legislation named for Megan Kanka, a New Jersey child murdered by a repeat sex offender.