July 22 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, July 8, 2014
Experts evaluating the way police deal with prostitution in Ipswich are due to give their final verdict today.
A team from the University of East Anglia are hosting a conference in the town to reveal what they found in their five-year study of the unique approach by police in Ipswich to on-street prostitution.
The murder of five prostitutes in Ipswich in 2006 by Steve Wright prompted police in Suffolk to launch the Ipswich/Suffolk Joint Agency Strategy on Street Prostitution.
The new strategy led to 137 arrests for kerb-crawling in Ipswich between March 2007 and February 2008, compared with only ten in the previous year.
It also involved multiple agencies to transform the lives of prostitutes.
The evaluation of the strategy looked at how well it eliminated kerb-crawlers, supported women to exit prostitution, prevented entry into the trade by young people at risk, and the level of community engagement.
The presentation will be introduced by the study’s principal investigator, prof Fiona Poland, who will be followed by Alan Caton OBE, former police lead for the prostitution strategy, prof Gwyneth Boswell and Laura Seebohm from the evaluation team, prof Ric Fordham from the project’s economic evaluation, and Simon Aalders, public health lead engagement manager at Suffolk County Council.
Although the final conclusions of the report will not be revealed until the conference, the investigators have in the past praised the approach.
In 2008, Dr Poland said: “The formation of a new multi-agency team has been a key element of the work to support women in changing their lives and moving out of on-street sex work.
“Social workers, support workers, police and probation officers work directly with the women, and in liaison with staff from voluntary and statutory housing and health services and drug treatment agencies, to intervene to meet the particular needs of each individual.
“Putting it into practice has demanded a high level of commitment and personal effort from many agencies.”