Police try out new powers (in Wales)

Jan 3 2008 by Linda Elias, Cynon Valley Leader

POLICE officers in Rhondda Cynon Taff have become the first in Wales to use new powers to monitor sex offenders.

The new powers, come under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 and are designed to allow them to enter and search the homes of registered sex offenders.

They allow officers to insist on entry into, and to search the premises of, any registered sex offender who does not comply with their registration conditions or refuses to let officers inside on compulsory unannounced visits.

The new entry warrant must be applied for by a police superintendent and issued by a magistrate and can allow officers to enter a property on more than one occasion if they are obstructed by the offender.

This is the first time the new powers have been used in the South Wales Police force area and is believed to be only the third time they have been used in the UK since they became available at the end of August.

Division Superintendent Simon Clarke says the powers will help officers to more strictly manage offenders if they refuse to comply with police requests.

“South Wales police canvassed nationally for additional legislation to give us this power of entry and it will be another valuable tool we can use whenever an offender tries to stop us doing our job,” said Supt Clarke.

“It sends a strong message to offenders and members of the public that we will use all means available to us to manage sex offenders and protect our communities, “ said the police chief. [Ed: what's not quite clear here is whether these S.O.'s have to be on parole or probation first (or their equivalents in the U.K.) in order to be subjected to these "police powers" If not, then it would be a step further down the path of tyranny than what the U.S. laws currently allow. If so, then this is truly an alarming development as it would mean that men who have served their time in prison and have been subsequently released from parole will not have even the most basic of their civil liberties restored ] Source

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