Prostitution clampdown wins recognition

COMMUNITY leaders have received national recognition for a pioneering scheme aimed at ridding Ipswich of street prostitution in the wake of the Steve Wright murders.

COMMUNITY leaders have received national recognition for a pioneering scheme aimed at ridding Ipswich of street prostitution in the wake of the Steve Wright murders.

Following the deaths of five young women in December 2006, a special task force was formed, with the aim of removing street prostitution from the town.

Featuring representatives from Ipswich Borough Council, Suffolk County Council, Suffolk police, Suffolk Primary Care Trust, Suffolk Probation Service, Suffolk Mental Health Partnership, the various agencies joined forces to develop an approach to dealing with the situation.

Earlier this month Suffolk police revealed that no prostitutes were currently working in Ipswich thanks to the efforts to convince women to stop touting for kerb crawlers.

The task force has now been nationally recognised, receiving the Municipal Journal achievement award for effective top team leadership.

Jeremy Pembroke, leader of Suffolk County Council, said: "I am extremely proud of the county council and our partner agencies in achieving this top award.

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“Working together in true partnership has made a lasting improvement in the quality of life for so many people.”

Liz Harsant, leader of Ipswich Borough Council, said: "Out of all the horror and badness of this case we were able to work together to bring real benefits to women trapped in street prostitution.

“I am proud of the partnership we formed with the police and the county council and I am sure that we will keep up the pressure.

“I would also like to pay particular tribute to Hannah Jo Besley for playing such a key role in implementing this vital strategy.”

Det Supt Tim Beach said: "We are pleased, as a team, to get this award.

“Although it arose out of the tragic circumstances of December 2006, it is national recognition of the hard work all the agencies - from the voluntary sector and health authorities to local councils and police - have put in.

"It has been successful in terms of the engagement of women involved in street prostitution and we are still in it for the long haul."

Have you benefited from the work of the task force? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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