Canada’s public safety minister has reintroduced legislation to strengthen the National Sex Offender Registry and the National DNA Databank.
During a press conference at the Ottawa police headquarters yesterday, Vic Toews announced proposed amendments to ensure convicted sex offenders are automatically included in the registry and are required to provide a DNA sample to the database.
The legislation would also enable police to use the registry to proactively prevent crime, not just to investigate crimes after the fact.
“This is not the case under the current law,” Toews said. “At present, the Crown must apply to have an offender registered and the presiding judge has the discretion, but is not required, to make such an order. The legislation will eliminate this process and make registration automatic upon conviction.”
RCMP files state that 42 per cent of those who should be on the registry are presently not included, Toews said. Fourteen per cent of offenders reoffend within five years, he added.
The legislation would also require offenders to provide information on their vehicles, including the licence plate number, make, model, body type, year of manufacture and colour.
Police would also be able to notify foreign or other Canadian police when high-risk offenders are travelling in their area, and offenders must report details of their employment, volunteer work and absences from their residences of seven days or more.
Chief Vern White said from a policing perspective, “there’s always more that we can do.”
The legislation is a result of substantial consultation with victims, their families and law enforcement, among others, Toews said.