Sex offender registry to open

A register of convicted sex offenders is likely this year as Police Minister Anne Tolley prepares to take a paper to Cabinet.

Fairfax Media revealed two years ago that officials were working on a proposal after it was revealed convicted paedophile Te Rito Henry Miki was working as a teacher.

The register will not be open to the public - only to officials with security clearance.

It will include offenders who have name suppression, Tolley said.

She wants legislation introduced to Parliament this year.

"It is close to [me] taking it through the Cabinet process," she said.

"I have said all along it is not just about putting names on a register.

"It's about making sure we know where they are and putting the right support around them when they need it."

It would not be "helpful" if the register was published.

"We want somewhere where everyone's name is, even those who have name suppression, so that police, Corrections and the other social services agencies can keep track of where these people are to keep our communities safe."

She said it was "detailed and intense work" which involved balancing the rights of offenders who had finished a sentence with those of the public.

It is likely to be based on a British index, which lists about 30,000 people.

The British register typically has the details of anyone convicted, cautioned or freed from prison for sexual offences against children or adults.

British offenders must register with police within three days of conviction or release from jail. They are required to register every year, notify a change of address or whether they will be away for seven days or more.

Failure to register is an offence punishable by imprisonment. The length of time a person is on the index depends on the offence.

British police share data on a centralised computer system, and principals, doctors, youth leaders and sports club managers are confidentially notified of a local sex offender.

Fairfax Media