Claims sex trade crackdowns are late

A NEW strategy to deal with the sex trade in the town was today welcomed alongside frustrations it was not adopted earlier.

A NEW strategy to deal with the sex trade in the town was today welcomed alongside frustrations it was not adopted earlier.

Opposition members at Ipswich Borough Council have spoken out after the council revealed new hard-hitting proposals earlier this week.

Labour group leader David Ellesmere said the strategy was almost identical to proposals his group had drawn up last August.

And he welcomed The Evening Star's pledge to name and shame drivers convicted of kerb-crawling in Ipswich's red light area.

Mr Ellesmere said: “We carried out a survey of residents who live in or near the red light area and as a result of that survey, and of talking to the police, we drew up proposals to deal with the issue.

“When those proposals were unveiled they were discussed in the media and by various groups but we got no response from members of the administration at the borough.

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“Now they have worked with other bodies to come up with a strategy and they contain many of the proposals that the council ignored back in August.

“We are not bitter about that but it is a bit frustrating that the council is now planning to back a strategy it seemed keen on ignoring just a few months ago.”

Mr Ellesmere represents the Gipping Ward, which includes the red light area.

He said: “To be honest this was not an issue I was really aware of until the boundaries were redrawn and my new ward included the area.

“However for people who live in the area it is a very serious problem and we have to look at ways of eliminating street prostitution from the town.

“You are never going to get rid of prostitution completely but you can drive street prostitution out. Why is there no problem with kerb crawlers in villages and small towns? Because there is no street prostitution there.

“If we can create a situation where there is no street prostitution for a time by encouraging the police to come down hard on kerb-crawlers and by naming and shaming those in court then we could get rid of this blight once and for all.”

Ipswich council leader Liz Harsant was confident that the strategy that had now been put into place had the support of people who lived in the red light area, and would help to reduce the amount of street prostitution in the town.

Can street prostitution be driven out of town? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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