Carolyn Harris, MP for Swansea East, joined cross-party colleagues in securing victory yesterday in Parliament for a review into registered sex offenders being able to change their name and identity without the knowledge of the police.
New Clause 24 was tabled by Sarah Champion, Labour MP for Rotherham, to be added to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill on Monday 5 July 2021, but agreement was reached with ministers so that a full review could take place.
Currently, people convicted for sex offense or those on the register can apply to change their name for as little as £42.44 under a deed poll.
Although the law requires them to notify authorities if they change their name with a failure to do so risking a five-year prison sentence, there is no system to ensure that this happens and that records are updated
It is hoped that the UK Government review into this loophole will open up future legislative measures to stop sex offenders changing their name or identity.
Carolyn Harris, MP for Swansea East, said:
“It is utterly shocking that this loophole exists within our law. It is repugnant that sex offenders can change their name and identity to try and allude the authorities.
“With all crime we must think of the victim first. Survivors of sexual abuse need support when they recover from the horrendous actions of abusers, not a legal system that allows offenders to slink away. The UK Government need to get tough on criminals who wish to harm our communities and closing this loophole is one such way to achieve this.
“I’m pleased that we have secured a UK Government review into this. It’s the determination of MPs, like Sarah Champion, that achieves the real change we need. I am delighted to have been one of the many to support this change.”