Campaign to catch kerb crawlers

WE'RE watching you.That was the stark message from Suffolk police today to the men who prey on vulnerable women in Ipswich.As the force issued new details of its pledge to help sex workers build new lives away from the damaging world of vice, senior officers revealed four men had already been arrested in the kerb-crawling crackdown.

WE'RE watching you.

That was the stark message from Suffolk police today to the men who prey on vulnerable women in Ipswich.

As the force issued new details of its pledge to help sex workers build new lives away from the damaging world of vice, senior officers revealed four men had already been arrested in the kerb-crawling crackdown.

And another unlucky group caught on camera paying repeated visits to the red-light district can expect letters in the post clearly marked Suffolk Constabulary and aimed at making sure they never return.

The letters will ask the men what they were doing in the notorious area, located just outside Ipswich town centre, and, police hope, prompt their partners and families to start asking questions about their behaviour.

Superintendent Alan Caton revealed today: “If men engage in kerb-crawling in Ipswich they are likely to be arrested.

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"If they are regularly seen in the area they will get a letter from us asking what they are doing in that particular area.

"It takes a lot of explaining to a partner when they get a letter from the constabulary.”

Sixty of the town's magistrates have been briefed about the plans and police hope they will back the get-tough agenda when kerb-crawlers are hauled before the courts.

The force was today backed by The Evening Star, which pledged to force those responsible for kerb-crawling to face the full shame of their acts.

In a message to the men who seek sex from the street and who fund the damaging cycle which keep prostitutes in their lives of despair, Evening Star editor Nigel Pickover said: “When you stand before a magistrate and are found guilty of your crime our reporters will be there to report every detail.

“And when you emerge from court surrounded by the shame of your acts our photographers will be there so that we can tell the people of Ipswich what role you have played in keeping these women locked in their tragic lives.”

Experts see removing the demand for sex as a key to winning the battle to end Ipswich's prostitution nightmare, highlighted by the deaths of Tania Nicol, 19, Gemma Adams, 25, Anneli Alderton, 24, Paula Clennell, 24 and Annette Nicholls, 29 in December.

With the memories of the killings hanging heavy in their minds, the officers behind the new hard-line against kerb-crawlers said it brought the town one step closer to solving the problem of street prostitution.

Mr Caton said: "This approach is unique in England and we accept we have got a huge challenge and a huge task.

“What we need to do now is focus the strategy on prevention and on looking at those women who do engage in prostitution and help them develop routes out.

“Doing nothing after the events of last December and the tragic deaths of five women is not an option.

“We have a huge responsibility to the families of those women.”

n. Do you think the crackdown will work? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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