Police must keep an eye on paedophiles

IT is good news that the police today know exactly where Clive Butcher is - safely behind bars awaiting sentence for possessing nearly 1,700 indecent images of children.

IT is good news that the police today know exactly where Clive Butcher is - safely behind bars awaiting sentence for possessing nearly 1,700 indecent images of children.

After a year on the run in Ireland the crime-fighting agencies have finally brought him before the court and he is now awaiting sentencing.

However following yesterday's government confusion about whether or not to introduce a “Megan's Law” into Britain, there is clearly great concern about how to deal with people like Butcher.

It is clearly impractical to consider locking people like him up for ever. There will come a time when he returns to society.

But it is equally clear that no families with children would want someone like that living next to them, especially if they start behaving oddly or inappropriately.

The danger with a “Megan's Law” is, of course, that paedophiles can be driven underground. They effectively disappear altogether and cannot be monitored by the police and agencies that need to know what they are doing.

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Part of the problem with high-profile child killers from Sarah Payne's killer Roy Whiting to Soham murderer Ian Huntley is that their local police officers were not aware of offences they had committed - or were suspected of - in other parts of the country.

Striking the right balance between protecting society as a whole and children in particular and the need to re-introduce people with serious psychological problems into society is very tough, even for experts.

But the one lesson society surely has learned is that the police must know straight away when a paedophile is living in the community and must keep a close eye on their activities.

SOMEBODY'S Daughter is a campaign which has really touched a chord with a community which is still coming to terms with the dreadful events which rocked Ipswich at the end of last year.

It is wonderful news today that collecting buckets will be out at the Rod Stewart concert at Portman Road in the summer as thousands of people arrive for Ipswich's music event of the year.

The fact that the concert is taking place in the heart of the area that was the focal point for the dreadful events that brought an unwanted spotlight to Suffolk adds to the poignancy of the event.

Everyone will be hoping that the concert-goers will be generous and boost the funds for this worthwhile appeal which should eventually provide a refuge for those whose lives could otherwise be blighted by drug use and prostitution.

BACK in the 1970s reserve team football was a big attraction at Portman Road - and the second team matches had real relevance.

Players like Mick Mills, Kevin Beattie, Russell Osman, Terry Butcher and Eric Gates made their names in the second team before breaking into the top level.

Now Town assistant boss Brian Klug has admitted that with the influx of foreign players, reserve team football is now largely meaningless - and is very fragmented.

That is very sad. It is all very well having English clubs filled with foreign stars competing at the top level in Europe, but if the route to the top for young British players is blocked then the future of the national game in this country does look very fragile.

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