Assistant Commissioner Hewitt:
There would clearly be an impact if this legislation were enacted because it would create a new offence. It would fill a gap that exists currently in the legislation to deal with this type of offence. I do not think it would be a massively impactive issue for us and the subsequent services. You would have to think about police resourcing.
Clearly, any legislation would inevitably and quite properly lead to publicity about that legislation, which would be a positive thing. It would be an important element of any legislation to make it very clear to anybody who was thinking of perpetrating the crime that there would be a law that would deal directly with it. That would have a positive impact in terms of prevention. It would clearly lead to an increase in reporting but I do not think that level of increase would be so significant that it would outweigh the benefits of being able to deal with this crime effectively.
You would obviously have the knock-on when individuals were charged in the Crown prosecution and courts system. The other end that we would have to consider is the impact of people who would potentially be placed on the sex offenders register. That is a list that grows. To give the example from my own force in London, we have seen an increase of about 8% or 9% per annum over the past few years in London of those who are on the sex offenders register. Clearly, there is a monitoring regime around those individuals based on the risk element. There would properly and obviously be an impact on resources, but I guess that is weighed against the necessity we have to be able to deal effectively with what is a newish crime and a crime that is quite impactive.