Kerb crawling arrest statistics revealed

A POLICE chief has today hit back at suggestions that officers were not doing enough to tackle prostitution prior to the killings of five women in and around Ipswich.

A POLICE chief has today hit back at suggestions that officers were not doing enough to tackle prostitution prior to the killings of five women in and around Ipswich.

Superintendent Alan Caton spoke as new figures were released suggesting only 13 people had been arrested for kerb crawling in Ipswich in the three years prior to the launch of Suffolk's new prostitution strategy.

The figures, released under the Freedom of Information Act, list the action taken against those using prostitutes and include their age and occupation.

However, Supt Caton said they did not reflect the efforts being made to reduce prostitution prior to the deaths of Tania Nicol, 19, Gemma Adams, 25, Anneli Alderton, 24, Paula Clennell, 24, and Annette Nicholls, 29.

He presented different statistics which suggest the true number of people dealt with for using prostitutes was about 93 over the last three years - with some receiving formal warnings rather than facing arrest.

Despite this he said his figures revealed that only ten people were arrested for kerb crawling in 2006.

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He said: “It is always easy with hindsight to look back and say not enough was being done but it would be unfair to those of us who were working with prostitutes to try to reduce prostitution.

“Significant events like the killings are going to focus the mind and make this more of a priority and, while we were all looking at prostitution, it wasn't the priority it is now.

“It is unfair to say nothing was being done because a lot was being done.”

Residents in Ipswich's red-light area say they have noted a marked reduction in street prostitution since the new prostitution strategy was launched on March 21.

Police have been arresting all kerb crawlers and cautioning or charging them for the offence, and have so far caught 30 people.

Ron Alder, chairman of London Road Neighbourhood Watch, said: “It (13) is a small number. I have lived in London Road almost four years and I don't remember seeing anyone arrested.

“Things are pretty good now but it is a shame it has taken all of the tragedies to get things to happen.”

Supt Caton said there had been a dip in the number of people dealt with for prostitution related offences last year because other methods were being used to tackle the problem.

He said: “In 2006 ten people were dealt with for kerb crawling and that reduction was probably as a result of the police service working more closely with partner agencies allowing more time to be spent with the women working as prostitutes to try to find ways out, as opposed to enforcement.

“After 2006, with the tragic events, we now take a more robust approach towards the whole package.”

Supt Caton said a variety of agencies were now working to try and tackle the demand for prostitution and to try to encourage women off the streets through assisting them with drug rehabilitation, benefits claims and housing.

Work is also being done with vulnerable youngsters to try to prevent them from entering prostitution.

THE Evening Star launched The Somebody's Daughter fund in conjunction with Ipswich Borough Council in the wake of the red light killings.

The appeal's goal is to raise enough money to open a refuge where drug addicts and sex workers can seek support and guidance.

Donations to the memorial fund can be made online at www.eveningstar.co.uk, in person at Ipswich Borough Council's customer service centre in the Town Hall, by calling 01473 433777, or by sending a cheque, made payable to Somebody's Daughter Memorial Fund, to PO Box 772, Ipswich Borough Council, Grafton House, 15-17 Russell Road, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP1 2DE.

October 5, 2004: A 26-year-old was charged with kerb crawling.

February 23, 2005: A 42-year-old was arrested on suspicion of kerb crawling. No further action was taken against him and no crime was recorded.

April 11, 2005: A 20-year-old was charged with kerb crawling.

August 8, 2005: A 36-year-old was charged with kerb crawling.

April 7, 2006: A 37-year-old was charged with kerb crawling.

August, 24, 2006: A 26-year-old was cautioned for kerb crawling.

October 18, 2006: A 59-year-old was charged with kerb crawling.

October 18, 2006: A 60-year-old was arrested on suspicion of kerb crawling. No further action was taken against him and no crime was recorded.

November 16, 2006: A 32-year-old was cautioned for kerb crawling.

March 13, 2007: A 56-year-old was charged with kerb crawling.

March 13, 2007: A 19-year-old was cautioned for kerb crawling.

March 15, 2007: A 46-year-old was cautioned for kerb crawling.

March 17, 2007: A 48-year-old was cautioned for kerb crawling.

Police dealt with 18 males in 2002. Seventeen were cautioned and no further action was taken against one.

In 2003, 36 men were dealt with by police. Nineteen were cautioned, nine got informal warnings, one was found guilty at court and eight had no further action taken against them.

In 2004, 39 men were dealt with. Four were cautioned, 31 were informally warned and two were found guilty at court.

In 2005, 44 males were dealt with. Twenty-four were cautioned and seven were found guilty at court, five were found not guilty at court and no further action was taken against eight.

In 2006, ten males were dealt with. Seven were cautioned and two were found guilty. The other result is not known.

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