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Region High On Child Sex Register

THE number of registered pedophiles living within the boundaries of the Lower Hunter police command puts the area in the state's top 10, police confirmed yesterday.
The command, based at Maitland police station, covers a population of 190,000 and is bounded by Tea Gardens, East Gresford, Wollombi and Beresfield. It is one of 80 in the state.
Police would not provide statistics for other commands.
The issue came to light yesterday when Lower Hunter command Superintendent Charles Haggett addressed a breakfast meeting of Maitland Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
He said although his command rated in the top 10, the numbers changed regularly as convicted pedophiles moved in and out of the area or were released from jail.
"I wanted to raise this at the chamber breakfast to let civic and business leaders know that police are dealing with this situation and that they have a responsibility to pass on to us any concerns the wider community may have," Superintendent Haggett said.
"For us the number of registered pedophiles living within the local area command is not a significant issue because of the size of the area. Having said that these offenders are registered and regularly monitored."
NSW has operated a child protection register since October 2001.
Offenders remain on the register for between eight years and life.
Police Minister John Watkins announced this week that police would be given authority to pass on the personal details of convicted pedophiles if a child was under threat.

The Herald (7-5-2004)
Donna Sharpe

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