Sarah's Law requests find a dozen possible abusers in Leicestershire
A scheme which allows families to ask Leicestershire police if people who have access to their children are a potential danger has uncovered 12 possible abusers.
The child sex offender disclosure scheme – Sarah's Law – was launched in Leicestershire in October 2010.
Sara Payne, whose eight-year-old daughter Sarah was found in a field near Pulborough, West Sussex, after she was killed by convicted paedophile Roy Whiting in July 2000, led a campaign calling for the law to be introduced.
The legislation allows parents, guardians or other full-time carers to approach police if they have concerns about someone who has close and unsupervised contact with their children.
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Leicestershire police said yesterday that it had received 50 applications for information since the launch and had deemed it necessary to release details of a person's criminal history in 12 cases.
Those people's previous offences included sexual offences against children or crimes such as child cruelty or neglect and domestic violence.
Police said yesterday that some applications had been made by women who had concerns about new or former partners.
Others were made by other close family members such as grandparents.
A small number used the law to check on the backgrounds of people such as private tutors or youth workers.
Detective Inspector Mark Cuddihy, who devised the scheme for the force, said: "It works, protecting children from harm.
"We'd encourage people to be watchful for the well-being of our children.
"Knowledge of how the scheme works is a must for parents and carers.
"People have shown great respect, using the scheme in the spirit in which it was intended to be used."
All of the people who applied for information told the force they were happy with its handling of their cases.
Det Insp Cuddihy said: "It is really positive to see the confidence the public have in the service we provide."
Leicestershire was one of the first forces in the country to introduce the scheme in order to help the Government evaluate its effectiveness. It was launched nationally a year ago today.
The Government said 160 disclosures had been made across the country in the past year.
Sara Payne said: "If one child has been kept safe as a result of Sarah's Law then all the work to see it introduced will have been worth it."
She said the fact dozens of youngsters were potentially affected was "testament to the fact the scheme is needed".
Home Secretary Theresa May said: "It is important that parents, guardians and carers are aware of the disclosure scheme and their right to request information if they have concerns.
"The actions of these members of the public have undoubtedly led to children being protected and helped to ensure greater public confidence in the police and other responsible authorities in the monitoring of sex offenders."