Bail hostel stops housing sex offenders after Panorama investigation

A bail hostel which was accused of failing to monitor sex offenders properly is to stop housing convicted paedophiles, it was revealed today.

An undercover BBC Panorama documentary exposed a series of alarming flaws in the way child sex offenders were supervised at the Brigstocke Road hostel in Bristol.

The Home Office ordered a review after the programme was aired in November, as local campaign groups demanded paedophiles be moved from the site, which is situated in a residential area.

But Avon and Somerset Probation Service today denied the decision had any connection to the documentary and insisted it was part a Home Office review which began before the scandal broke.

Residents at the hostel, who have been convicted of child sex offences, are expected to be moved out of Brigstocke Road within the next month.

The site first hit the headlines last year after it emerged convicted child killer Robert Oliver was being housed at the hostel, which is located just yards from a nursery.

Home Secretary later banned paedophiles from 12 hostels deemed "unsuitable" for housing such offenders – but Brigstocke Road was left off the list.

In November, Mr Reid was confronted by local campaigner Lawrence Hoo during a visit to the city, and he handed over a petition of 4,000 signatures demanding paedophiles be moved from the hostel.

News of the decision to ban sex offenders from Brigstocke Road was today welcomed by Mr Hoo.

"This is a victory for the local community," the father-of-three said.

"We would like to thank John Reid and we feel the right thing has been done and can now feel at ease that our children are safe."

The Panorama programme had filmed convicted paedophile and child killer Frank Parker, 61, befriending children while staying at the Brigstocke Road hostel.

Another paedophile, Kevin Rogers, was meanwhile seen taking pictures in a busy shopping centre and loitering around public toilets.

Programme makers said they called the police about Parker's activities, but the probation service was not informed.

Following the decision to remove paedophiles from the hostel, the Home Office said in a statement: "Ministers are 100 per cent committed to protecting the public and take very seriously the need to ensure approved premises are properly managed.

"Indeed, the Home Secretary met residents who had concerns about the Bristol premises in November.

"The decision to move child sex offenders from further approved premises is simply a continuation of the policy introduced in the summer by the Home Secretary that child sex offenders should be excluded from approved premises directly adjacent to schools and nurseries."

A spokeswoman for the Avon and Somerset Probation Service said they were currently working on rehousing and removing sex offenders from the hostel.

Two other hostels – Seafield Lodge, in Kilburn, north London, and Welford House, in Birmingham, will also no longer house sex offenders following a risk assessment by the Home Office.

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