'Sarah' Law may cause more paranoia than the old witch hunts and Mccarthysim?

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Raven2008, Aug 3, 2010.

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  1. Most peeps will agree that the 'Sarah' law in principle is ideal for protecting the kids of today and but it be nice if certain instituitions say under the catholic church or kids homes be given even more scrutiny IMHO.

    However scanning through various tabloids yesterday, there were a few interesting suggestions such as

    1) If any neighbour, family members, gen public think someone's acting weird in the neighbourhood/community, then all and all are encouraged to call the cops and get the intel lowdown on said individual(s) just in case they may be perceived as a threat to the little ones.

    2) Said intel then spurts out info to say whether threat is viable or not, if not then under some protection act, nothing be done, and no one gets hassled and the cops don't think about it again. Otherwise if any remote threat after background check and surveillance.

    Problem is as a few people said in the papers, that anybody who has a grudge against anyone could use this to their advantage and call up the cops to cause trouble.

    It reminds me of the witchhunts of yesteryear and a little of McCarthism in 50s America.

    Any thoughts please?
  2. It doesn't actually work like that (if you had read up on it properly rather than requesting the keys for the outrage bus) - its not like the American version where offenders details are published for everyone to see. Unless there is a very extreme case then the police check the details and if someone is breaching their parole or licence conditions then that is addressed with them and only them - not the enquirer. The only people who actually get told anything are the parents of children who are at extreme risk of being involved (so if a mother has a new boyfriend with sex or violence convictions for example) even then they have to guarantee to keep that information confidential. So a neighbour can raise concerns or even a grandparent, and will never be told whether their is a case to answer.

    For now I recommend you put down the Daily Mail and start reading something a little less sensational and more realistic for a bit - the library has plenty of Mills and Boon which should suit you perfectly.
  3. The sad fact is that every law will have unforseen downsides and people who will abuse it - yesterday a council was found guilty of spying on a mother and kids for 3 weeks because they might have been lying about living in a particular school catchment area!Another example is the law where a rape victim is anonymous whilst the accused can be denounced publicly - this has led to certain 'cry wolf' women ruining the lifes and families of innocent men - neither case was forseen when the laws were brought in. Sarahs law good in principle but mark my words I'm fairly sure in the years to come a 'weird' but innocent guy will get chased bullied and chased out his local area
  4. I'm inclined to agree with you. Like most other Laws that strip away privacy for a specific purpose, they are well-intentioned and seem based on a sound premise but in reality they become a gossip's tool.
    Talking to a plod friend the other day I was amazed at what you could be made to sign the sex offender's list for. Apparently one old boy (dinosaur) who enjoyed pinching women's bottoms was found guilty of indecent assault and made to sign the register. I doubt that that old boy would ever be a danger to children but would the Police feel duty bound to disclose his entry on the register when faced with a Sarah's Law enquiry? Can the Police disclose suspicion? In the case of Huntley, prior to the Soham Murders, it was all suspicion and no substance so would he have been disclosed under Sarah's Law or would he still have been free to kill?
    Would a clean bill of health change anything. If you're suspicious of someone the aren't you just likely to assume that he just hasn't committed any offences or that he hasn't been caught yet?
    How many NIMBYs are going to use Sarah's Law on their new neighbours? Just to be sure. In my experience the more knowledge that the Great Unwashed have and the greater the resources for them to call upon, there is an exponential rise in its misuse.
    That being said though, if it saves just one life is that justification enough?
  5. The problem with Sarah's Law is that it's the worst of both worlds . Anyone with a grudge can claim " Oh yes I phoned the law and that bloke down the road is a definate paedo cos the police said so "

    In America convicted sex offenders under Megan's law actually have to have a sign in their window and special licence plates on their cars identifying them as sex offenders . If anyone petrol bombs their house then the perpetrator is prosecuted in the same way as if they'd attacked an innocent member of the public which seems fair to me
  6. TBH you say nothing that reassures and your tone leaves a lot to be desired. Inevitably the scope of who will be informed will increase and the bureaucracy will increase when parents decide to find out about everyone who lives on their children's route to school or everyone who lives around their chosen nursery. The idea of somehow vetting anyone whom you decide to have a relationship with doesn't bode well.
    There's also the other side of the coin to be considered. If the Police keep getting enquiries about a specific person will they then start turning their attention on that person on the grounds that there's no smoke without fire?
    The law and the reasoning behind it might be sound and it may appear that proper safeguards are in place but it is what it evolves into that is more the worry. Will your future house moving pack contain reports, negative or positive about your neighbours?
  7. terroratthepicnic

    terroratthepicnic LE Reviewer Book Reviewer
    1. ARRSE Runners

    What happens if an inoccent man/woman is checked, but they happen to have the same name as someone on the register?

    People won't care that he/she are inoccent, the name is the same, so there for they are guilty.

    I'm all for a type of Sarah's Law, but at the moment I can see a lot of people being seriously injured or killed because of it.
  8. It's hard to disagree with the general idea, but I have a few issues with it.

    Firstly, it's likely to be used as a gossip stick to beat people with.

    Secondly, just because somebody isn't on the sex offenders register doesn't mean they're not up to no good. I'd imagine a person would talk themselves out of legitimate concerns on the grounds that "he can't be a child abuser - I checked with the police."

    And thirdly, the flipside of that is that it creates suspicion and paranoia. If we want to build this so-called 'big society', we need to do away with the concept of neighbours spying on each other.

    Lastly, laws like this rarely stay in their box. The potential for these powers to be expanded, and the controls relaxed, is very real and quite worrying - particularly given the "soft intelligence" (i.e. gossip) the police are so fond of these days.

    A mate of mine shagged an underage girl he met in a club. Given the circumstances, they gave him a caution - but he still had to sign 'the register' as if it made him a threat. My thoughts on the sex offenders register are:

    - If you're deemed a threat, you should be locked up.
    - If you're not, and you've paid your debt to society, you should be left alone.
    - If the sex offenders register really is necessary, it should only contain details of people who are considered a real threat, and not diluted with people who have made sleazy remarks or been caught shagging prossies.
  9. I am not encouraged in the slightest by the apparent safeguards. As soon as a system like this goes into operation, there WILL be people trying to abuse it, and it WILL be used maliciously against innocent parties - either by accusations against that person, or as Spanny says by using the system as 'evidence' in slandering that person. It just smacks of the lack of trust we have in the Police and courts system these days; if they were seen to be doing their jobs in safeguarding the public then fruit-cake schemes like this wouldn't be deemed necessary in the first place.
  10. That's the other issue I have with it. The name "Sarah's law" seems to have been invented to make opposition difficult.
  11. I think it's a deeply flawed plan, that has good intentions but fails to take into account human nature. If you were to find out your new boyfriend/girlfriend is on the sex offenders register, would you keep schtum about it? If your next door neighbour had a conviction for child pornography would you sit still and do **** all?
    Then there's just the vindictive shit stirrers who will pick on those who have a grudge and start a whisper campaign and all round thick ****'s who can't tell the difference between a Doctor and a Pervert.
    Still I would happily be proved wrong but Joe Public tends to not let anyone down on such matters.
  12. Why will the scope continue getting wider? This is you second guessing the future and ranting as though what you have imagined is already started whilst I am talking about what the actual process is.
  13. Actually I'm calmly sitting down and discussing what ramifications, if any, may come from this.

    You say that only the parents will ever be told. How long before there's an amendment made for grandparents who routinely look after their children's children? How long before carers and child-minders are brought into the equation? They already are to a certain extent. If the child's parents find out that their parent's neighbour has disclosable convictions do you think they're not going to tell the grandparents? The grandparents themselves are not bound by the disclosure rules because they were never privy to the original information so they can then tell who they like.

    So, far from ranting I'm looking at what dangers lie ahead rather than blindly assuming that the Law will fulfil all it's intended to, without being diverted for other purposes.

    Now, would you like to tell me how a Law, introduced to help suppress terrorism could be used by a council to find out if a child is in the right school catchment area or that its parents are recycling properly?

    Perhaps it's just as well that there are people who can look a bit further than the end of their own nose.
  14. If all threats were locked up then your mate would be in the nick for what he did which would be even more outrageous than letting a 'wierdo' live in your street. Where do you draw the line between a threat and an innocent but blatantly wierd innocent?

    I agree that the sex offender's register must be severely watered down by flashers/lappie-lickers/doggers and other malcontents, who are not 'dangerous' to vulnerable children or adults. Perhaps it would be better to have separate registers that can have limitations placed on them for search criteria.

    If it saves one life, then fair enough. It works. The question is: how many lives and livelihoods are threatened by the Outrage Police who may attack anyone they take a dislike to and how many police hours are going to be taken up following-up accusations when their time would be better spent getting out there and policing.