Sex offender community disclosure scheme: overview

How to apply to the police for information if you have concerns about someone's access to a child.

How can I apply to participate in the community disclosure?

Step 1

Anyone can register an interest about an individual and/or child with the police.

Step 2

There are many different ways to contact the police.

You can go online to

  • visit a police station;
  • phone the police; or
  • speak to a police officer on the street.

Step 3

To be given any information about a person you must be a parent, carer, or guardian.

You will then be asked to fill in a form with a police officer. This will be explained to you when you first contact the police where an arrangement will be made to have the form completed.

You will need to provide proof of your identity, an address, including a photo ID and some proof of your relationship to the child in question.

Ideally, you will need to show two forms of identification (one of which must be a photo ID). These can be:

  • your passport;
  • your driving licence;
  • a household utility bill;
  • your bank statement;
  • your benefit award notice; or
  • your birth certificate.

To establish your relationship with the child you will need to show one of the following:

  • the child's birth certificate;
  • the child's passport; or
  • the child benefit award notice letter.

However, if photo ID is not available, the police will consider other forms of ID.

Step 4

The police will act immediately if, at any point during the investigation, a child is considered to be at risk and in need of protection.

The police will run two types of checks on the individual that you have concerns about:

a) Priority checks
The purpose of these checks is to establish if there are any immediate issues of concern about the safety of a child and to take appropriate action. If the police believe that children are in need of protection they will take immediate action. No disclosure of information will take place at this stage.

b) A full risk assessment
The police will run more detailed checks and work with other agencies including Social Work Services and those agencies involved in local Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements ( MAPPA). The full risk assessment should be completed within 10 working days of contacting the police. They will work as quickly as possible to complete the checks but, in rare circumstances, some checks may take longer for the results to be received.

The maximum target time it should take to complete the enquiries, including possible disclosure to the applicant, is six weeks but even then there may be some delays due to factors beyond the control of the police.

The police will act immediately if at any point during the investigation a child is considered to be at risk and in need of protection.

Step 5

The police will contact you once the priority checks and a full risk assessment have been completed. Careful consideration will be given as to what further action should be taken.

They will either:
a) Visit you at home; or
b) Invite you to the police station

Step 6

What kind of information might be given?

If the checks show that the person you are asking about has a record for sexual offences against children, you may be given relevant information about that person which is necessary and proportionate to protect your child.

If there is no previous record of sexual offences against children, in respect of the individual concerned, then it may be that no information will be provided.

The police will give you advice about keeping your children safe and will make sure that you are aware of the available support.

It may be that although an individual is not known to the police for sexual offences against children, he or she may be showing worrying behaviour, or may be known for other offences that might put your children's safety at risk - such as serious domestic violence. In this case the police will work with you to protect your children and provide further advice and support.

Step 7

After you are given information.

"Can I tell my family and friends about this? I really need to talk to someone."

If you do receive information from the police it must be treated as confidential. It is only being given to you so that you can take steps to protect your children. You must not share this information with anyone else unless you have spoken to the police, or person who gave you the information, and they have agreed with you how it will be shared.

Subject to the condition that the information is kept confidential, you can:

  • use the information to keep yourself and others safe;
  • use the information to keep your children safe;
  • ask what support is available;
  • ask who you should contact if you think you or others are at risk; and
  • ask for advice on how to keep yourself and others safe.

The police may decide not to give you information if they think that you will discuss it with others.

The police may take action against you if the information is disclosed without their consent, which could include civil or criminal proceedings.

Step 8

The end of enquiries.

"Nothing was found on the searches, but this has really made me think about protecting my child. Is there anything else I can do?"

If you think a child is in immediate danger, call the police on 999.

A number of organisations provide information about child sexual abuse, how to spot it and how to work with the authorities to intervene.

Part of the process of the community disclosure is to make sure that you have information about services.

You can also keep in regular contact with the police.

Even if a person doesn't have a record for sexual offences against children it doesn't mean that he or she is not potentially a risk.


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