Kerb crawler zero tolerance kicks in

FOURTEEN men are today dealing with the humiliation of being caught in the sleazy act of kerb-crawling in Ipswich's red-light district.The men represent the first wave of arrests made since the launch of an unprecedented blitz by Suffolk police on the people who create a demand for street prostitution in the town.

FOURTEEN men are today dealing with the humiliation of being caught in the sleazy act of kerb-crawling in Ipswich's red-light district.

The men represent the first wave of arrests made since the launch of an unprecedented blitz by Suffolk police on the people who create a demand for street prostitution in the town.

The zero tolerance approach is a key part of Ipswich's new prostitution strategy, which aims to rid Ipswich of street prostitution by putting the fear of certain arrest in kerb-crawlers and helping sex workers get off the streets.

Today The Evening Star can reveal that ten of the arrests are believed to have been made in the last fortnight alone and police are conducting nightly patrols in the hope of catching more.

Most of the men quickly admitted their guilt and accepted a caution from police. Those who did not are likely to appear in court.

If any of those who accepted a caution re-offend they will not have the option of taking another caution and will instead face punishment in court.

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Today Superintendent Alan Caton, one of the senior officers leading the police's fight against street prostitution, said: “The message is a clear one - if men go out and seek prostitutes in their vehicles or on foot they will be arrested.”

The Evening Star has pledged to name and shame kerb-crawlers who appear in court as their acts are a major factor behind the destructive sex trade which has rocked Ipswich since the deaths of sex workers Annette Nicholls, 29, Paula Clennell, 24, Anneli Alderton, 24, Gemma Adams, 25, and Tania Nicol, 19.

The crackdown on kerb-crawlers is part of the five-year Ipswich street prostitution strategy which was unveiled late last month.

The strategy is the response by police, Ipswich Borough Council, Suffolk County Council and a host of other agencies to the red-light killings.

Today's revelations that arrests are being made is a sign that the strategy is already having an effect. As well as the arrests, Suffolk police has sent letters to the owners of a number of cars seen persistently driving through the red-light district.

The aim of the letters is to warn the drivers they have been caught on camera and to alert them to the fact that if they return with the intention of kerb-crawling they will be under intense scrutiny.

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

The most recent arrests:

A 56-year-old man from Hollesley was arrested at 9.45pm on Wednesday in West End Road. He has been bailed to return on April 10.

A 34-year-old Ipswich man was arrested at 8.50pm on Monday on suspicion of kerb-crawling in Handford Road in Ipswich's red-light district. He has been bailed to return on April 10.

Another 34-year-old man from Ipswich was arrested on Friday, March 29 at about 11.45pm, also in Handford Road, on suspicion of kerb-crawling. He has been bailed to return on April 12.

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