PICTURES of convicted paedophiles who disappear while under supervision could be placed on the internet to warn children and parents that they have absconded.
There were fears last night that it would lead to vigilante attacks on offenders and on people who looked like the paedophiles in the pictures.
The proposal ? by Jim Gamble, chief executive of a new unit inaugurated yesterday to tackle child abuse ? follows the disclosure that about 100 high-risk offenders, including those convicted of serious crimes against children, have gone missing while on the sex offenders register.
Child Exploitation and On Line Protection (CEOP) had written to police forces in England and Wales seeking their views on the tactic of posting abusers? pictures online.
Mr Gamble said: ?If the risk is high we need to consider new and perhaps constructively aggressive measures before they harm a child in the community.?
He urged child abusers to get help or they would be caught because the internet was no longer seen as ?unpoliceable?.
An estimated 900 of the 30,000 people on the sex offenders register have lost touch with the authorities at any time, though not all are paedophiles or represent a serious risk to the public.
The unit, with a budget of ?5 million a year, brings together police and experts from the private and voluntary sectors under the same roof.
Mr Gamble said he also hoped to find support worth ?1 million from the private sector in cash and in kind in CEOP?s first year.
The unit will have access to the latest technology from companies, including Microsoft. Mr Gamble said: ?For a long time we were seduced by the internet and felt we couldn?t police it. That is not true. We are occupying the information superhighway in the same way that we occupy other public spaces.?
He added: ?Paedophiles and sex offenders need to realise that the world is changing.? One of CEOP?s tactics would be to track suspects? financial transactions.
CEOP will run a 24-hour service to follow up intelligence about offenders, both online and offline. Its new website, www.ceop.gov.uk, which went live on Sunday night, received its first credible report of a possible offence at 8am yesterday.
CEOP is affiliated to the new Serious Organised Crime Agency.