Paedophile campaign didn't lead to 'mob rule' insists NoW editor

As News of the World journalists celebrated success in their six-year "Sarah's Law" campaign this week, editor Andy Coulson has responded to claims his paper "blackmailed" the Government.

The NoW campaign is named after Sarah Payne, the eight-year-old schoolgirl murdered by a paedophile near her home. It calls for parents to be given the right to have information about sex offenders living near them.

Home Secretary John Reid revealed last week that he would be sending a senior minister to the US to see how the prototype of "Sarah's Law" works there.

But this week chief constable of Dyfed and Powys police Terry Grange accused the Government of driving the country towards "mob rule" with a populist approach to law and order. He also claimed ministers were pandering to a tabloid agenda.

NoW editor Andy Coulson told Press Gazette he believes there has been a "sea change" at the Home Office under John Reid and that Home Office plans to visit the US are a "sensible first step".

Coulson said: "Our job is to represent the views of our readers — I've never before been involved in a campaign that's generated a million signatures.

Their view hasn't changed over the last six years, if anything it has hardened."

He added: "I don't believe that Terry Grange's views are those of the broad range of policemen.

"Campaigning is a central part of a newspaper's role to represent our readers. What he said is just nonsense, it is a newspaper campaign in the great tradition of newspaper campaigns.

"I know we are representing our readers on this issue — the question for Mr Grange is whether he is representing the people he's supposed to — I don't believe he is."

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