Sex offenders must wait 15 years

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Currently anyone sentenced to at least 30 months in prison for a sexual offence is placed on the sex offenders register for life

Paedophiles and rapists will only be able to apply to have their names removed from the sex offenders register 15 years after their release from prison, Home Secretary Theresa May has said.

Mrs May said the Government was obliged to act on a Supreme Court ruling but would only make the “minimal possible changes to the law”.

She said a commission would be launched to investigate the creation of a British Bill of Rights, saying: “It is time to assert that it is Parliament that makes our laws, not the courts.”

Police will have the final decision on whether a sex offender should remain on the register and there will be no right of appeal against a decision to keep an offender on the register, Mrs May said.

“Sex offenders who continue to pose a risk will remain on the register and will do so for life, if necessary,” she said.

Home Office officials are preparing new rules after failing to overturn the Supreme Court ruling that it is a breach of offenders’ human rights to be put on the register for life with no review.

Mrs May said: “The Government is appalled by this ruling. It places the rights of sex offenders above the right of the public to be protected from the risk of reoffending, but there is no possibility of further appeal,” she said.

“This Government is determined to do everything we can to protect the public from predatory sexual offenders, and so we will make the minimum possible changes to the law in order to comply with this ruling.”

Earlier, Prime Minister David Cameron said the court ruling “seems to fly completely in the face of common sense”. “Requiring serious sexual offenders to sign the register for life as they do now, I would say has broad support right across this House and right across the country,” he said.

Probation union Napo said there will need to be “a very rigorous assessment conducted before an appeal to remove a name from the register is heard”. Harry Fletcher, Napo’s assistant general secretary, said: “It is highly likely that very few appeals will be successful.”

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