Sex offenders on the run to be named and shamed

Sex offenders who go on the run in Scotland will be named and shamed on the internet in a bid to stop them striking again, reports Scotland on Sunday.

Scottish police have from today been given permission to publish photographs and details of missing sex offenders on a dedicated web page which can be accessed by the public. The move has long been been resisted in Scotland for fear of prejudicing trials and vigilante justice. But there is growing concern that communities are needlessly exposed to risk from on-the-run sex criminals.

The move will apply to people on the sex offenders' register who breach the terms of registration, typically by leaving their known address without telling police. To have their photograph put on the website, they will also have to be judged a danger to the public.

The system has operated in England for more than a year and is being implemented in Scotland after ministers and the Crown Office reached an agreement.

In England, the use of online photographs has resulted in nine offenders - on the run for a total of 20 years - being caught and returned to jail.

Sex criminals named and shamed (Scotland on Sunday, 25 November 2007)