SARAH'S LAW: Detective says single mothers most vulnerable from predatory paedophiles

Bournemouth Echo: Martyn Underhill Martyn Underhill

THE detective who led the inquiry into Sarah Payne’s murder has revealed single mothers are the group most vulnerable to predatory paedophiles.

Martyn Underhill, who now lives in Poole, spoke out after Dorset Police disclosed that the majority of applications regarding Sarah’s Law in Dorset were from people who had suspicions about a new partner.

The new information follows the revelation that since the introduction of Sarah’s Law in the county, seven child sex offenders had been discovered to be in regular contact with children in Dorset.

Under the Child Sex Offender Dis-closure Scheme, more than 60 concerned families had also contacted Dorset Police to find out if their child was safe.

Mr Underhill was tasked with liaising with Sara Payne, Sarah’s mother, during the course of the investigation in 2000, which led to the conviction of predatory paedophile Roy Whiting.

Speaking to the Daily Echo about the formation of Sarah’s Law, he said: “Part of the reasons for establishing this disclosure policy was the vulnerable group of mid-20s to mid-40s women looking to find a new partner and being targeted because they had children.

“This is exactly the reason we fought for the disclosure law – for women and ex-partners with concerns to have reassurance and information to deal with potentially dangerous situations.

“Every part of this story is good news for Dorset parents, and Dorset police and their partners.

“Critics said that when Sarah’s Law came in, police would be swamped by thousands of ‘nosey neighbour’ requests.

“Fact – 60 requests over that period of time is totally proportionate to Dorset’s size, population and demographic spread.

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“Critics said that there is no evidence that paedophiles target young single mums with children.

“Fact – the majority of the applications related to people who had suspicions about a new partner.

“Sarah's Law was designed to protect this vulnerable group, and it is clearly working. I applaud Dorset Police and their partner agencies for implementing this scheme smoothly, professionally and without any fuss.

“But we can't afford to be complacent, paedophiles will continue to seek new inroads to get access to children, and we must continue to spread the word to all single young mums to check their new partners for the safety of their children.

“These results absolutely made my day. Sarah’s Law has strengthened our ability to profile and monitor sex offenders in Dorset, allowing controlled interventions when appropriate.”

Mr Underhill was also involved in investigating the murders of 10-year-olds Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman and is now on the Bournemouth and Poole Local Safeguarding Children Board.

Detective Inspector Joan Carmichael from Dorset Police said: “Dorset is a safe place and this scheme exists in order to make it safer.

“Dorset Police work extremely hard to protect children and families within our communities and this service not only further strengthens our safeguarding procedures, but also empowers parents and guardians to understand how best to protect their children.”

Comments (15)

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2:46pm Mon 19 Mar 12

pete woodley says...

This is a serious subject and should not be used by ex police seeking publicity,when wanting the post of police commissioner.
This is a serious subject and should not be used by ex police seeking publicity,when wanting the post of police commissioner. pete woodley

3:01pm Mon 19 Mar 12

Adrian XX says...

“Critics said that there is no evidence that paedophiles target young single mums with children.

“Fact – the majority of the applications related to people who had suspicions about a new partner.

So is there evidence that paedophiles target young single mothers or not? Does anyone actually know?
[quote]“Critics said that there is no evidence that paedophiles target young single mums with children. “Fact – the majority of the applications related to people who had suspicions about a new partner. [/quote] So is there evidence that paedophiles target young single mothers or not? Does anyone actually know? Adrian XX

3:21pm Mon 19 Mar 12

portia6 says...

Adrian XX wrote:
“Critics said that there is no evidence that paedophiles target young single mums with children.

“Fact – the majority of the applications related to people who had suspicions about a new partner.

So is there evidence that paedophiles target young single mothers or not? Does anyone actually know?
Single mothers are vulnerable
because they are seen to be
lonely and looking for a father
for their children.
[quote][p][bold]Adrian XX[/bold] wrote: [quote]“Critics said that there is no evidence that paedophiles target young single mums with children. “Fact – the majority of the applications related to people who had suspicions about a new partner. [/quote] So is there evidence that paedophiles target young single mothers or not? Does anyone actually know?[/p][/quote]Single mothers are vulnerable because they are seen to be lonely and looking for a father for their children. portia6

3:48pm Mon 19 Mar 12

Old Colonial says...

"...since the introduction of Sarah’s Law in the county, seven child sex offenders had been discovered to be in regular contact with children in Dorset."

Sorry to be a bit nit-picking, but does this figure have any connection to the 60 requests under the new disclosure act?

If not....no story.
"...since the introduction of Sarah’s Law in the county, seven child sex offenders had been discovered to be in regular contact with children in Dorset." Sorry to be a bit nit-picking, but does this figure have any connection to the 60 requests under the new disclosure act? If not....no story. Old Colonial

4:54pm Mon 19 Mar 12

hammer says...

When children go missing or are murdered a majority of these children seem to come from single parent/divorced parents background.
When children go missing or are murdered a majority of these children seem to come from single parent/divorced parents background. hammer

5:08pm Mon 19 Mar 12

tosh599 says...

pete woodley wrote:
This is a serious subject and should not be used by ex police seeking publicity,when wanting the post of police commissioner.
A fair point Peter, I am the person in question, and I did this story, and interview, with the Echo several weeks ago.....long before I declared for the Police Commissioner role. It's just unfortunate the Echo took a while to print this. Martyn
[quote][p][bold]pete woodley[/bold] wrote: This is a serious subject and should not be used by ex police seeking publicity,when wanting the post of police commissioner.[/p][/quote]A fair point Peter, I am the person in question, and I did this story, and interview, with the Echo several weeks ago.....long before I declared for the Police Commissioner role. It's just unfortunate the Echo took a while to print this. Martyn tosh599

5:09pm Mon 19 Mar 12

John T says...

pete woodley wrote:
This is a serious subject and should not be used by ex police seeking publicity,when wanting the post of police commissioner.
Yes, next we will have another possible candidate for the post of police commissioner, NickKing, Director of Rubyz, getting even more publicity through the Echo for that joint, and telling us all about the wonderful work he has done there.
The whole idea of an elected police commissioner is bound to be corrupt.
[quote][p][bold]pete woodley[/bold] wrote: This is a serious subject and should not be used by ex police seeking publicity,when wanting the post of police commissioner.[/p][/quote]Yes, next we will have another possible candidate for the post of police commissioner, NickKing, Director of Rubyz, getting even more publicity through the Echo for that joint, and telling us all about the wonderful work he has done there. The whole idea of an elected police commissioner is bound to be corrupt. John T

5:17pm Mon 19 Mar 12

John T says...

tosh599 wrote:
pete woodley wrote: This is a serious subject and should not be used by ex police seeking publicity,when wanting the post of police commissioner.
A fair point Peter, I am the person in question, and I did this story, and interview, with the Echo several weeks ago.....long before I declared for the Police Commissioner role. It's just unfortunate the Echo took a while to print this. Martyn
Martyn
Not withstanding my earlier posting, if you are totally free of political party allegiance, and in view of your previous Police experience, it will almost certainly be you who will get my vote.
[quote][p][bold]tosh599[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]pete woodley[/bold] wrote: This is a serious subject and should not be used by ex police seeking publicity,when wanting the post of police commissioner.[/p][/quote]A fair point Peter, I am the person in question, and I did this story, and interview, with the Echo several weeks ago.....long before I declared for the Police Commissioner role. It's just unfortunate the Echo took a while to print this. Martyn[/p][/quote]Martyn Not withstanding my earlier posting, if you are totally free of political party allegiance, and in view of your previous Police experience, it will almost certainly be you who will get my vote. John T

5:29pm Mon 19 Mar 12

tictactaylor1 says...

Stay married with your partners....
Stay married with your partners.... tictactaylor1

6:01pm Mon 19 Mar 12

pete woodley says...

tosh599 wrote:
pete woodley wrote:
This is a serious subject and should not be used by ex police seeking publicity,when wanting the post of police commissioner.
A fair point Peter, I am the person in question, and I did this story, and interview, with the Echo several weeks ago.....long before I declared for the Police Commissioner role. It's just unfortunate the Echo took a while to print this. Martyn
Thank you for your honesty,but you must admit,it does not look good for those who feel the Echo should be impartial.Like John T,we fear corruption,and certainly do not wish any political involvement,from ANY side.
[quote][p][bold]tosh599[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]pete woodley[/bold] wrote: This is a serious subject and should not be used by ex police seeking publicity,when wanting the post of police commissioner.[/p][/quote]A fair point Peter, I am the person in question, and I did this story, and interview, with the Echo several weeks ago.....long before I declared for the Police Commissioner role. It's just unfortunate the Echo took a while to print this. Martyn[/p][/quote]Thank you for your honesty,but you must admit,it does not look good for those who feel the Echo should be impartial.Like John T,we fear corruption,and certainly do not wish any political involvement,from ANY side. pete woodley

7:55pm Mon 19 Mar 12

bmb says...

tictactaylor1 wrote:
Stay married with your partners....
And those of us single parents who are widows?
[quote][p][bold]tictactaylor1[/bold] wrote: Stay married with your partners....[/p][/quote]And those of us single parents who are widows? bmb

11:02pm Mon 19 Mar 12

tosh599 says...

John T wrote:
tosh599 wrote:
pete woodley wrote: This is a serious subject and should not be used by ex police seeking publicity,when wanting the post of police commissioner.
A fair point Peter, I am the person in question, and I did this story, and interview, with the Echo several weeks ago.....long before I declared for the Police Commissioner role. It's just unfortunate the Echo took a while to print this. Martyn
Martyn
Not withstanding my earlier posting, if you are totally free of political party allegiance, and in view of your previous Police experience, it will almost certainly be you who will get my vote.
Thanks for that! Yes I am free of politics, and I will be standing as an Independent, and value your comments, as I do Peter Woodley's. However, the issue today isn't my quote or why the Echo printed it, it's about getting the message to single mums who face being targeted!. The Police Commissioner role aside, I will ALWAYS be a campaigner on safeguarding children, I will never apologise for that, and I am glad this story finally got printed. (I do appreciate the whole issue of the Echo publishing a story written in January, in late March. It is bound to cause concern!) M
[quote][p][bold]John T[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]tosh599[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]pete woodley[/bold] wrote: This is a serious subject and should not be used by ex police seeking publicity,when wanting the post of police commissioner.[/p][/quote]A fair point Peter, I am the person in question, and I did this story, and interview, with the Echo several weeks ago.....long before I declared for the Police Commissioner role. It's just unfortunate the Echo took a while to print this. Martyn[/p][/quote]Martyn Not withstanding my earlier posting, if you are totally free of political party allegiance, and in view of your previous Police experience, it will almost certainly be you who will get my vote.[/p][/quote]Thanks for that! Yes I am free of politics, and I will be standing as an Independent, and value your comments, as I do Peter Woodley's. However, the issue today isn't my quote or why the Echo printed it, it's about getting the message to single mums who face being targeted!. The Police Commissioner role aside, I will ALWAYS be a campaigner on safeguarding children, I will never apologise for that, and I am glad this story finally got printed. (I do appreciate the whole issue of the Echo publishing a story written in January, in late March. It is bound to cause concern!) M tosh599

11:06am Tue 20 Mar 12

pete woodley says...

It may have changed over the years,but the threat did not come from young mothers and their relationships,the first case i reported was a father and daughter,the mother confided in me as she did not want to go to the police herself,i got in touch with the beat copper who dealt with the matter in a delicate manner,and the father was put down.Another case was a local man involved in 2 or 3 youth organisations,also involved with 2,prominent local people,this matter was dealt with ok but hushed up.A more serious one was when i became suspicious of a individual running kids talent contests,i reported this to a P.C. who passed it onto CiD but message got "lost"later cid phoned me,and took my report,the individual got put down too.At one time i used to sell model rai;way from my shop,which then attracted kids,one of whom told me that a man near were my shop was used to invite all the local kids into his house too see his railway,and then make indecent suggestions,this was also dealt with promptly.The reason i am making these comments is to say,that paedophiles come from all walks of life,and often in families.
It may have changed over the years,but the threat did not come from young mothers and their relationships,the first case i reported was a father and daughter,the mother confided in me as she did not want to go to the police herself,i got in touch with the beat copper who dealt with the matter in a delicate manner,and the father was put down.Another case was a local man involved in 2 or 3 youth organisations,also involved with 2,prominent local people,this matter was dealt with ok but hushed up.A more serious one was when i became suspicious of a individual running kids talent contests,i reported this to a P.C. who passed it onto CiD but message got "lost"later cid phoned me,and took my report,the individual got put down too.At one time i used to sell model rai;way from my shop,which then attracted kids,one of whom told me that a man near were my shop was used to invite all the local kids into his house too see his railway,and then make indecent suggestions,this was also dealt with promptly.The reason i am making these comments is to say,that paedophiles come from all walks of life,and often in families. pete woodley

11:17am Tue 20 Mar 12

tosh599 says...

pete woodley wrote:
It may have changed over the years,but the threat did not come from young mothers and their relationships,the first case i reported was a father and daughter,the mother confided in me as she did not want to go to the police herself,i got in touch with the beat copper who dealt with the matter in a delicate manner,and the father was put down.Another case was a local man involved in 2 or 3 youth organisations,also involved with 2,prominent local people,this matter was dealt with ok but hushed up.A more serious one was when i became suspicious of a individual running kids talent contests,i reported this to a P.C. who passed it onto CiD but message got "lost"later cid phoned me,and took my report,the individual got put down too.At one time i used to sell model rai;way from my shop,which then attracted kids,one of whom told me that a man near were my shop was used to invite all the local kids into his house too see his railway,and then make indecent suggestions,this was also dealt with promptly.The reason i am making these comments is to say,that paedophiles come from all walks of life,and often in families.
Absolutely, paedophiles come in every sex, age, creed, religion and culture. I think we all accept that. The issue here is that some groups of people are more "vulnerable" than other groups, because they do not realise they are at threat or risk. This is the case here, an awful lot of single mum's appear to have no perception that a paedophile will groom them, swoon them to become their boyfriend, purely to be able to have access to the ladies children. And Sarah's law will help here, women with new partners, who have suspicions or doubts now have somehwere to go with their fears. M
[quote][p][bold]pete woodley[/bold] wrote: It may have changed over the years,but the threat did not come from young mothers and their relationships,the first case i reported was a father and daughter,the mother confided in me as she did not want to go to the police herself,i got in touch with the beat copper who dealt with the matter in a delicate manner,and the father was put down.Another case was a local man involved in 2 or 3 youth organisations,also involved with 2,prominent local people,this matter was dealt with ok but hushed up.A more serious one was when i became suspicious of a individual running kids talent contests,i reported this to a P.C. who passed it onto CiD but message got "lost"later cid phoned me,and took my report,the individual got put down too.At one time i used to sell model rai;way from my shop,which then attracted kids,one of whom told me that a man near were my shop was used to invite all the local kids into his house too see his railway,and then make indecent suggestions,this was also dealt with promptly.The reason i am making these comments is to say,that paedophiles come from all walks of life,and often in families.[/p][/quote]Absolutely, paedophiles come in every sex, age, creed, religion and culture. I think we all accept that. The issue here is that some groups of people are more "vulnerable" than other groups, because they do not realise they are at threat or risk. This is the case here, an awful lot of single mum's appear to have no perception that a paedophile will groom them, swoon them to become their boyfriend, purely to be able to have access to the ladies children. And Sarah's law will help here, women with new partners, who have suspicions or doubts now have somehwere to go with their fears. M tosh599

12:04pm Tue 20 Mar 12

pete woodley says...

We do not want a situation like which happened a few years ago at Portchester where an innocent man was subjected to the wrath of local thugs,but what would put anyone off giving information about anyone they suspect,would be the sometimes, could not care less attitude of the operators on the police switchboard.There is a serious let down in communications between the public and the police,which offenders of all sorts benefit from.There is also the other side where people are scared to talk to kids,in case they get accused.
We do not want a situation like which happened a few years ago at Portchester where an innocent man was subjected to the wrath of local thugs,but what would put anyone off giving information about anyone they suspect,would be the sometimes, could not care less attitude of the operators on the police switchboard.There is a serious let down in communications between the public and the police,which offenders of all sorts benefit from.There is also the other side where people are scared to talk to kids,in case they get accused. pete woodley

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