UK to Tighten Laws Related to Child Sex Offenders

by Hannah Punitha on Aug 22 2008 6:30 PM

The British Home Office is to announce measures that will result in tighter laws to deal with child sex offenders.

The measures come as the 1970s glam-rock star Gary Glitter heads for London after serving a 33-month sentence in Vietnam for molesting two girls.

Glitter, 64, was released yesterday and deported. He flew to Thailand but managed to avoid boarding his planned flight to Britain last night, complaining of fatigue and dizziness.

He rented one of the small rooms at Bangkok airport that are available for passengers who want to rest and declared: "I'm not going back to London. You can't make me. I've done my time. I'm a free man."

The singer, who was told that he would be arrested if he tried to enter Thailand and whose requests to fly to Singapore or Hong Kong were denied, was travelling on a passport issued by the British consulate in Ho Chi Minh City last November. He has the same rights as any British citizen to travel to any country that does not require a visa.

Under the Home Office's proposed measures, child sex offenders would have to renew their passport annually and new rules would make it easier for police to seek an order restricting an offender's movements. The ministry also wants to extend the length of time - currently six months - that child sex offenders can be barred from travelling abroad.

Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, said: "I want to see anyone who poses a threat to our children dealt with as firmly as possible. I've spoken to child protection experts and the police and they have told me that these changes will further restrict the ability of child sex offenders to harm children both here and overseas."

She said that it was her view that with his criminal record, Glitter, who, in his heyday, earned 800,000 pounds a year, should not be travelling anywhere in the world.

The proposals came after the disclosure that police were powerless to impose a sexual offences prevention order on Glitter on his return to Britain. At present police require recent evidence that a person is at risk of re-offending. In future there will be no timescale on the evidence.

Registered sex offenders will also have to give more than the present seven days' notice of their intention to travel abroad, making it easier for police to seek an order to ban them from going overseas and for their passports to be confiscated. The measures require legislation, so they will not be in place when Glitter returns.