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Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme

Dated: 25 January 2023

POLICY TITLE: Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme (Sarah's Law)

OWNING DIRECTORATE: Crime and Safeguarding

AUTHOR: Senior Lawyer (Operations and Disclosure)




AIM OF POLICY: To safeguard children by enabling Northumbria Police to disclose information to the public regarding an individual who may pose a risk to a particular child or children.

BENEFIT OF POLICY: To allow Northumbria Police to respond to and work with members of the public thereby building trust and confidence and creating stronger links with communities.

REASON FOR POLICY: Northumbria Police acknowledges the need to provide a comprehensive safeguarding service and considers the Government Policy in relation to the Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme (CSODS) to be an additional tool in safeguarding children. This policy will ensure compliance with the scheme.


This policy was developed as a result of the Home Office pilot scheme which was conducted following the publication of the Review of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenders in 2007.

Northumbria Police will, where appropriate, provide information to the public who may have concern about an individual who has (or potentially has) access to and contact with a child or children.

Northumbria Police will work with members of the public who make enquiries by responding to their concerns. Northumbria Police  will also provide them with sufficient information and guidance to allow them (or another) to appropriately safeguard a child, or children, in their care or community thereby building trust and confidence, increasing public satisfaction and creating stronger links with the community.

When a member of the public makes an application for disclosure of information under the Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme, there are three potential outcomes:-

Outcome 1

Where checks reveal nothing to disclose regarding the person enquired about.

Outcome 2 

Where checks reveal a conviction(s) for a relevant child sexual offence and a potential risk is identified.

Outcome 3

Where checks do not reveal convictions but there is information/intelligence to suggest worrying behaviour towards children or offences that might put a child’s safety at risk. 

The whole process, from the initial receipt of the application to conclusion will be completed within 45 days, although in exceptional circumstances this may be extended.   

Information held by Northumbria Police will be processed in accordance with the Data Protection Act 2018 and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).  

This policy engages the Article 8 (European Convention on Human Rights) rights of an individual about whom a disclosure is made and constitutes an interference with those rights, however, that interference is legitimate and is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime and for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.


SOURCE DOCUMENT: Review of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenders

GROUPS AFFECTED: All officers and staff 


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