How New York does it
Photo Courtesy of: NY Justice Dept
GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS. The welcome news is that the number of signatures on our petition – for a national public register of convicted sex offenders -- has passed another 5000 milestone. More than 155,000 of you have now signed it.
The bad news is that I keep getting emails, from people who should know, claiming that the current, reassuringly named, Serious Sex Offenders Registers are not working.
And these disturbing qualms come from men and women at the coal face -- from working police officers.
In Victoria, there are a more than 5000 names on that state’s register. In New South Wales it’s over 7000. We can’t find out the exact numbers. You certainly can’t know where these offenders live. How dare you even think that way?
A suburban newspaper recently tried to even get the postcodes for where offenders lived and got knocked back. Not names or photos, just postcodes.
A very senior VicPol officer told me that there was no way police could adequately monitor the current register because of the sheer numbers of offenders on it.
the drunken paedophile
So I was not surprised overnight when I received another disturbing email from a working copper – a letter prompted by my recent editorials about Kevin Briscoe.
He’s the drunken paedophile who has been offending for more than 50 years and who was quietly released back into the community to live a block away from a primary school.
The predator, first convicted in the 1950s, who has now been relocated (since I blew the whistle) and whose whereabouts were the subject of a new suppression order last week.
My police contact said:
‘Briscoe has given life sentences to the hundreds of survivors he has cruelly abused and shattered any hope of normality for them.
Next time you get the chance to interview Chief Commissioner Lay perhaps prod him why the likes of Briscoe aren’t put on circulars for local police to watch over.
kept in locked drawers
The sad reality is most SOCIT (Sexual Offences and Child Abuse Investigation Teams ) offices have only two members to oversee anywhere 190 to 250 sex offenders on the register in their area.
Some of these offenders are high risk and require weekly visits. The SOCIT files are kept in locked drawers and no other police member can gain access to them. This in my opinion gives these paedophiles a clear run at the kids. It is disgraceful.
Please don't disclose my details or I will be charged for bringing the force into dispute and suspended without pay’.
Then he adds, reassuringly:
‘Don't worry, there are many passionate police like myself who give up their time to support the children in their local area about education, protection and safety of their little bodies.
I cannot understand how these offenders’ rights are more important than our children.
Good on you, Derryn. There needs to be more passionate men like yourself.
Keep up the pressure, it is an election year , anything is possible’.
I’m reminded again of the comment from that Sheriff who drove me around Florida to show me not only where convicted sex offenders lived (with their names, photos, address and crimes on a state website register) but to show me big signs on the front lawns warning that a sex offender lived there.
When I told him about our secret (Eyes Only) state registers here, he said: ‘Don’t your politicians and judges have children of their own down there?’
What could I say? I suspect a lot of my police correspondents would agree with him.