The British government is being asked to place danger warnings on the passports and driving licences of convicted sex offenders to close the loop hole that is allowing dozens of criminals to disappear each year.
The demands come just weeks after an Olive Press investigation revealed how easy it was for a convicted British peadophile to move to Spain and secure a job as a teacher.
British Labour MP Sarah Champion has called on parliament to add an amendment to a criminal bill currently in the works that would see the DVLA and the passport office mark the files of Britain’s 100,000 registered sex offenders.
This would close a loophole whereby paedophiles change their names so that their crimes do not show up during Disclosure and Barring Service checks to work with children.
An Olive Press investigation recently revealed how easy it was for a convicted British paedophile to change his identity, move to Spain and find work as a teacher in several Madrid schools where he was arrested for abusing at least 36 children.
We reported how Ben Lewis, 31, had changed his name by deed poll, applied for a new British passport, and dodged criminal record checks despite being on the UK’s sex offenders register.
Police in Spain issued a statement describing Lewis – AKA Ben David or Ben David Rose – as ‘a dangerous child sexual predator’.
The National Police press release stated that he had used his position as a teacher at private schools in Madrid to gain access to children whom he photographed and filmed. He was arrested in June last year and is currently on remand in a Madrid prison awaiting trial.
Emily Konstantas, CEO of The Safeguarding Alliance, which used the Olive Press investigation as a case study in its latest report used to lobby the UK parliament for a legal change in the management of registered sex offenders, said:
“The Ben Lewis case as revealed by the Olive Press highlights this loophole and as shocking as this is, it is nothing new and unfortunately represents just the tip of the iceberg as to the magnitude of this problem.”
She warned: “Whilst the status quo remains in situ this significant and very dangerous safeguarding loophole will continue to pose a threat, not just to UK Nationals, but to the rest of the world putting children and those most vulnerable at risk.”
“There are potentially hundreds – if not thousands – of known sex offenders slipping under the radar in the UK to seek work abroad where they can continue to abuse children,” she continued.
By logging sex offenders’ passports and licences, the “danger” alert would be flagged up each time someone changed their name.
Former shadow abuse prevention minister, Champion called for the measure to be included as an amendment to the Police , Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. She told a parliamentary committee on June 17, that: “They are slipping under the radar with devastating consequences.
“If the name-change process was joined up it would stop the sex offender from successfully receiving a DBS check.”
Safeguarding minister Victoria Atkins said: “We are looking at the issue seriously.”
Meanwhile the issue has been raised in the Spanish parliament by Jon Iñarritu, an MP for the Basque party EH Bildu.
“Is the government considering new measures to check the identity and documentation of those who work with children to prevent similar cases?” wrote Iñarritu in a written question on May 25, citing the case of Ben Lewis and the investigation by The Olive Press.
- UK child protection group calls on Spain to close ‘dangerous loophole’ exploited by British sex offenders to gain teaching work in schools
- Police in Spain reveal details of arrest of British paedophile teacher working in Madrid
- LESSONS NEEDED: How did a convicted British paedophile move to Spain, dodge criminal record checks and find work as an English teacher?