A loophole which allows convicted paedophiles to slip through the net by changing their names should be closed, a leading children’s charity warned today.
Claudia Knights and Peter Bradley
Kidscape has called for the law to be strengthened after it emerged that known sex offenders are responsible for alerting the authorities if they change their identity by deedpole.
The law, which was recently tightened, currently states that offenders’ must alert police within three days of any name change.
But the onus of responsibility currently rests with the offender, which Kidscape has warned needs urgently reviewing.
Kidscape director Claude Knights (pictured with deputy director Peter Bradley) said: ”I find it not acceptable at all that the onus is on the offender to follow a set of procedures and then there is a penalty if he or she doesn’t.
”We have to be much more proactive as we are dealing with a group known for trying to throw obstructions in the way of truth.”
The appeal comes after convicted paedophile James McAlpine was allowed to work as a tennis coach abusing boys after changing his identity.
He was jailed for 30 months in 1997 but changed his name to Jay Powers on his release and was caged for life in 2002 after admitting a string of further offences.
Currently, anyone can apply to change their name by deedpole by paying #40, a process which allows the applicant to hold passports and driving licences using their ‘new identity’.