Information about people who pose a risk to children
can be given to parents and guardians under the Dorset Police Child
Sex Offenders Disclosure Scheme (from 1 October
The Child Sex Offenders Disclosure Scheme
enables parents, guardians and third parties to enquire whether a
person who has access to a child, is a registered sex offender, or
poses a risk to that child. Consideration will also be given to
disclosing information about a person who poses a risk to a
The Child Sex Offenders Disclosure Scheme
originates from the Child Sex Offenders Disclosure Pilot which was
introduced by the Home Office in September 2008. Four police forces
in the country originally piloted the scheme over a 12 month period
(September 2008-September 2009).
Following the success of the Disclosure Pilot the Home Office
has decided that the initiative will be rolled out nationally and
in the first phase of the roll out, Dorset Police is one of 18
other police forces across the country to operate the scheme from 1
Under the scheme, a parent, guardian or third party can make an
application to find out if there is information which they need to
know about in order to protect a child(ren) in their care. If there
is a need to pass information to someone in order to allow them to
better protect a child, then the police will disclose to whoever is
in a position to use, or need, that information.
Although each case will be considered separately, in
consultation with partner agencies, disclosure will only be made to
those people who are in a position to best protect or safeguard a
The scheme builds on existing processes to proactively manage
sexual and violent offenders by the constabulary's Public
Protection Units under the Multi-Agency Public Protection
Arrangements (MAPPA). Although disclosure already takes place when
children are deemed to be at risk, the scheme enables parents,
guardians and third parties to apply directly for information
Anyone living in Dorset can make an application for disclosure
about someone who has contact with a child(ren). The person they
are enquiring about must also live in Dorset.
Questions and Answers
How does the Child Sex Offenders Disclosure Scheme work?
Any member of the public can approach Dorset Police to apply
under the Child Sex Offenders Disclosure Scheme, for information
regarding a specific person who has contact with a child(ren). The
police will process the application, but disclosure is not
guaranteed. Even if there are no firm grounds for suspicion, the
applicant can trigger an investigation to find out if the subject
(the person they are asking about) has a known history that means
they might be of risk to children.
Third parties with concerns (e.g. grandparents or neighbours)
about an individual who has contact with children are also invited
to use the scheme. However, where appropriate, disclosure will only
be given to parents and guardians or those best placed to protect a
How do people apply for information?
If you consider that a child is at immediate
risk then you should call 999 to report
In all other circumstances
The information you will need to provide initially will be :
- Your details: name, date of birth, address, telephone
- The details of the individual that you are enquiring
- The details of the children that have contact with the
- Any specific concerns/suspicion that you have regarding the
After providing the above details you will subsequently be
contacted (during office hours Monday - Friday) by a police officer
from the Dorset Police Safeguarding Referral Unit who will confirm
receipt of your application and explain the next stage of the
What happens if someone has a concern about a child who does
not live in the Dorset?
They should contact the police or their local Children’s Service
and the usual child safeguarding procedures will be triggered.
Does disclosure already take place?
Yes it does. Under the Multi-Agency Public Protection
Arrangements (MAPPA) or under the Safeguarding Children
Arrangements, information is disclosed to an individual or group
where it is felt necessary or proportionate to protect children
the process through which the police, probation and prison services
work together with other agencies to manage the risks posed by sex
offenders, and violent offenders living in the community in order
to protect the public.
The Safeguarding Children Arrangements involve a number of
agencies working together to promote children’s welfare and help
protect children from abuse. Disclosure may also take place under
the Safeguarding Children Arrangements, where Children’s Services
may disclose information held by the authorities in a managed way;
where it is felt necessary to protect children under Section 47 of
The Children Act.
This scheme enables parents, guardians and third parties to find
out about possible sexual offenders or violent offenders who may be
in contact with their children or a child they know.
How are registered sexual offenders usually managed?
The police have a statutory responsibility to manage registered
sex offenders. All registered sex offenders are subject to
procedures. MAPPA aims
to reduce the risk posed by offenders to the community.
Will the subject know they are being checked out, and who asked
No, confidentiality will be maintained unless a disclosure takes
place. If a disclosure does take place the subject may be informed
that the applicant is to receive a disclosure about them. Risk
assessments will take place for each disclosure.
If disclosure takes place, can applicants warn family and
friends about the sexual or violent offender?
Information about disclosure must be treated as confidential. It
is only being given so that steps can be taken to protect children.
Applicants must not share this information with anyone else unless
they have spoken to the police, or the person who gave them the
information, and the police have agreed that it can be shared. In
considering disclosure, all relevant persons will be informed.
What will be done to stop offenders becoming victims of
The police and other agencies are in regular contact with
offenders and the disclosure process will be carefully managed. If
anyone feels they are likely to become a victim of vigilantism or
have been targeted, they should contact the police. In all cases of
disclosure, the risks to the offender and the community impact will
be considered, however the protection of children will be the key
What happens if someone tries to make a false application?
Making a false declaration in an attempt to procure the
disclosure of personal data to which someone does not have a lawful
right of access is an offence under the Data Protection Act 1998.
This offence is punishable by an unlimited fine at Crown Court.
Therefore, anyone providing false information in registering their
interest or misusing any information disclosed, for example, by
engaging in vigilantism on their own behalf, or on behalf of
others, or the harassment of sex offenders, would be subject to
police intervention and potential prosecution for any offences