Benefits seen in setting up a register of sex offenders

A justice lobby group and anti-child abuse advocates have backed government proposals to introduce a sex offenders register.

Police Minister Anne Tolley is considering plans for an index drawn up by police and Corrections after a convicted paedophile was exposed working as a teacher.

The register will not be open to the public and will only be viewed by officials with security clearance.

Child Matters academic services manager Amanda Meynell there would be benefits from access and information sharing it would give to authorities and agencies.

She said much could be learnt from overseas registers.

"The trend and thinking in the UK now is towards them being for the use of authorities only. Authorities in the UK can let approved local groups know if a paedophile has moved to their area."

Lobby group Sensible Sentencing Trust is in favour of a register – but called for it to be open to the public. The group operates an online data-base for sex and violent offenders.

"If the minister is really concerned about public safety and preventing further victims the register must be open to the public," spokesman Garth McVicar said.

NZ First police spokesman Richard Prosser said a register would give "some peace of mind to the public that officials are keeping tabs on these predators."

But he said it must be properly resourced.

"If the register is to become a reality it must be well-funded so it remains relevant and up-to-date."

Other opposition parties accused the Government of a populist move.

Greens justice spokesman David Clendon said the register would open the door to witch-hunts.

The Dominion Post