With a number of recent high profile sex offender cases dominating the news agenda and record numbers of sex offenders taking on new identities in order to hide their past, this topical and controversial issue is one that often provokes strong opinions and divides the nation.
For me, the answer is black and white. Convicted sex offenders should not be awarded anonymity and should not be allowed to change their name. With Appeal Court judges able to rule that sex offenders, who no longer pose a direct threat to society, have the freedom to have their name wiped off the police database, is it time to question what seems like a ludicrous decision?
Not only is allowing sex offenders to change their name giving them a free pass to lead a normal, happy life - free from media attention and public backlash, it's basically giving them the inclination to commit further crimes, posing a severe risk to the public.
It is my belief that it is the British Justice System's responsibility to protect children and adults from sex offenders, implementing preventative actions and initiatives that will stop re-offenders in their tracks, and most importantly stop them from reoffending. After all, if the police are not able to identify convicted offenders, how will they be able to impose strict restrictions and monitor their movements?
The best way to do this is to stop them from being able to change their name via deed poll - this way it will prevent offenders from evading the restrictions imposed on them by simply adopting a new name.
If you commit a crime, any crime at all, I don't believe that you should be able to wipe the slate clean, and start a fresh, I certainly was never offered this opportunity. After all, the victims and their families will never be able to live a normal life again - why should the perpetrator of the crime? The irony of the British Justice system is that, although many sex offenders are sentenced to imprisonment, when they are released they are allowed to take on a whole new identify, hiding their secret past from those who live around them - how is this fair and what gives them the right to a clean slate?
With no solid evidence that a convicted sex offender will not commit further crimes, how can we ever be sure that their behaviour will change? Therefore, they should always be considered as being a risk.
I don't know about you, but I would want to know if a sex offender, rapist or paedophile was living in my neighbourhood or even working in the same environment - it's human instinct to protect yourself and those closest to you.
Yes, people will argue, everyone makes mistakes; people should be given a second chance... But we're not talking about a petty crime, we're talking about one of the most horrendous acts a human can inflict upon another.
But with the High Court arguing that being on the sex offenders register for life is a breach of their human rights - will public solidarity and opinion ever be able to over rule the High Court?