Don't let us down
A BRAVE mum campaigning to tighten up the law surrounding sex offenders has taken her fight to the Scottish Parliament.
Margaret Ann Cummings made an emotional appeal to MSPs on a special committee last week.
Her eight-year-old son Mark was killed by convicted child sex offender Stuart Leggate – who had changed his name and lived in the same Royston tower block – in June 2004.
Margaret Ann said had she known Leggate's background, she could have warned Mark and the concierge could have kept an eye on him.
She told the committee: "When Mark went missing, it took police 45 minutes to come out and investigate. The officers on the scene had no clue a convicted sex offender lived in our block.
"Leggate was clearly not being monitored properly, otherwise the second I rang my local police station to report my child missing alarm bells would have rung."
A 'Mark's Law' would give parents and carers the right to access information on sex offenders living within a one-mile radius of their homes.
Margaret Ann said ideally their names, addresses, details of offences and photographs should be given, but that at least, parents should know how many sex offenders live in their area.
Springburn MSP Paul Martin also gave evidence to the Justice 2 committee in support of Margaret Ann.
He said: "Children need maximum protection and there are a number of measures that can be taken to do that such as housing allocation and greater sentencing powers.
"I remain to be convinced that community notification is the way forward, but I will look at it and the examples of other countries.
"I think the committee was very impressed with Margaret Ann's evidence, she was understandably nervous beforehand, but she did very well.
"At the moment all offenders are required to give to police is their date of birth, name and address, so it is too easy for them to disappear and the police don't have the manpower to watch them 24 hours a day.
"There is definitely an issue there about additional police resources."
Evidence is still being heard by the Justice 2 committee and a report should be given to the Scottish Parliament by the end of the year.
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Friday 24 May 2013
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