Extra money to help sex workers

IPSWICH'S bold push to solve the prostitution problem which led five young women to their deaths today received a massive financial boost.

IPSWICH'S bold push to solve the prostitution problem which led five young women to their deaths today received a massive financial boost.

Agencies behind the town's new prostitution strategy have pledged vast sums of money, more than £1million in the first two years, to tackle the illegal trade in a move that signals their determination to see it succeed.

For the first time the predicted costs of the first stages of the hotly debated new five-year plan were revealed today.

They are expected to include:

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£300,000 from Ipswich Borough Council to make changes to the red-light district

up to £260,000 each year from Suffolk police to ratchet up policing and crack down on kerb crawlers

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£200,000 each year for two years from Suffolk County Council for a raft of new measures and services

£65,000 for cameras for the red-light district track kerb-crawlers and increase security

Suffolk County Council's cabinet will meet next month to debate its contribution but the £200,000 over two years is expected to cover measures ranging from education programmes to installing better lighting in the area.

After two years the success of the project will be reviewed and the council will decide how much it will contribute for the remaining three years of the strategy.

Suffolk police has pledged to increase high visibility patrols through the red-light district. It estimates that if a team of officers, led by a sergeant and involving six other officers, is given the task of leading the policing efforts that will cost £260,000 each year.

Police, the councils and health, prostitution and drug experts have committed themselves to removing the problem of prostitution from all areas of Ipswich by helping sex workers overcome drug problems and by removing the demand for sex.

The new strategy group was called together after the deaths of Tania Nicol, 19, Gemma Adams, 25, Paula Clennell, 24, Annette Nicholls, 29, and Anneli Alderton, 24. Their bodies were found on the outskirts of Ipswich in December.

Joanna Spicer, the county councillor with responsibility for public protection, said: “We want all agencies to make this a priority.

“This is a significant sum of money for us. What we are hoping to do is throw all our political weight and energy behind this.”

What do you think about the new efforts to tackle Ipswich's prostitution problem? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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