Mixed reaction to prostitution clampdown

A GOVERNMENT campaign to quash prostitution and kerb crawling has met with mixed reaction in Suffolk today.The zero tolerance approach is to be launched next month and will mean previous proposals to introduce licensed “red zones” will be shelved.

A GOVERNMENT campaign to quash prostitution and kerb crawling has met with mixed reaction in Suffolk today.

The zero tolerance approach is to be launched next month and will mean previous proposals to introduce licensed “red zones” will be shelved.

Ipswich police already follow a similar approach in tackling prostitution and have started new initiatives to crack down on the problem over the last year.

These include the use of anti-social behaviour orders (Asbos) to prevent prostitutes entering the red light district and the issuing of fixed penalty notices to those driving into access only roads in the London Road and Handford Road area.

But critics of the campaign claim such an approach drives prostitution further underground and creates increased danger for often vulnerable people.

Andrew Stringer, who represents the Mendlesham ward for the Green party, hit the headlines last year when he claimed licensed brothels should be introduced.

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Today the Mid Suffolk District Councillor described the government's proposed approach to prostitution as a “missed opportunity”.

He added: “I honestly think that (the introduction of red zones) has got to be the only way forward to protect all of the vulnerable within this industry.

“I don't think with any amount of clampdown people will stop the industry.

“I honestly think the time has come for us to grow-up and regulate the industry properly to protect the vulnerable who get wrapped up in this and to take away the seedier and damaging effects of this industry.”

David Ellsemere, Labour group leader for Ipswich Borough Council, set up a petition campaigning for more to be done to tackle prostitution earlier this year.

He said: “We would support any measures to crack down on prostitution in residential areas because it causes a huge amount of upset for residents living there, either for men solicited by women in the streets or by women propositioned by kerb crawlers.

“I think most of the legislation is probably there already, things like Asbos can be used, but I think it needs recognition and the resources need to be put in to tackle it.”

Suffolk police's Inspector Bruce Robinson said: “The long term aim of the police and their partners in Ipswich is to remove prostitution from the town.

“We will continue to target both the prostitutes, those who profit from their activities and their clients and will use all of the legal powers currently at our disposal to this end.

“Whilst we are working closely with our voluntary and statutory partners, we are of course reliant on the support of local communities in finding a sustainable solution to the problem. We need them to continue supplying us with the information necessary to identify prostitutes and their clients.”

N How do you think prostitution should be tackled? Write to: Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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