The Scheme (also known as Sarah’s Law) is a formal way for members of the public to enquire whether an individual who has contact or potential contact with a child has a record of child sex offending and or poses a risk of harm to a child.
You can find out if a person has a record for child sexual offences, and obtain further information on the scheme here.
Who can apply?
Parents, carers, guardians, extended family, friends, neighbours or anyone who looks out for the welfare of a child.
Anyone can register a child protection interest where they have concerns about a named individual who cares for or has access to a named child. For example, it could be a new partner who is living or staying in the same house as the child.
This scheme does not replace existing arrangements for the Safeguarding Children Procedures. If you are enquiring about someone you wish to employ or already employ, then it is more appropriate you should undertake a full Disclosure and Barring Service Check (DBS). Please click here for further information.
When is a disclosure made?
Where the individual has previous convictions for child sex offences and is considered a risk to the child concerned, relevant information may be given to the person best placed to protect the child. This is usually a parent, carer or guardian, who needs to know the information in order to keep the child safe.
Any member of the public can apply for information about an individual if they are concerned, but disclosure will only be given to the person best placed to protect the child. Therefore the person making the application may not be told the outcomes of the investigation.
Under the scheme, any disclosure remains a decision for the police in consultation with relevant partner agencies. Disclosure cannot be guaranteed in all cases. All disclosures must be lawful, proportionate and necessary to protect a child from the risk of significant harm.
How can I make an application?
Call 101 and speak to a call taker who will record the details of your application.
At a Police Station Public Enquiry Office:
You can make an application to a member of staff at a Police Station Public Enquiry Office.
What happens next?
1. After your initial call you will be visited by an allocated officer over the following few days. This is to carry out a face to face interview to verify your identification and obtain further details, which will help us move your application forward as efficiently as possible.
2. You will be asked to provide proof of identification. Photographic ID would be preferable if you have it.
3. We will try to complete all necessary enquiries and relevant disclosures within 45 days. The time scales are largely dependent on each individual case and could vary.
Please be assured that risks to the children concerned will be reviewed and assessed throughout the application process. Positive action will be taken in the event that we receive information to suggest that a child is at immediate risk of significant harm.
Anyone making a wilful or malicious application to this scheme and providing false information to the police in order to obtain information they are not lawfully entitled to, may risk prosecution in respect of this.