Prostitution crackdown failing

A CAMPAIGN to make clamping down on prostitution a higher priority in Ipswich has today been branded a failure.A shocking survey which revealed 90per cent of people living in or around the town's red light district said their lives were affected by street prostitution sparked a bid by the Ipswich Labour Party to tackle the issue.

A CAMPAIGN to make clamping down on prostitution a higher priority in Ipswich has today been branded a failure.

A shocking survey which revealed 90per cent of people living in or around the town's red light district said their lives were affected by street prostitution sparked a bid by the Ipswich Labour Party to tackle the issue.

In August, the party called for Ipswich Borough Council, Suffolk County Council, the area's primary care trust and Suffolk police to crack-down on prostitution.

Three months on, borough councillor David Ellesmere, leader of the group, said the response has been disappointing.


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Mr Ellesmere said: “Leading politicians at the borough and county councils do not appear to have taken much interest in the issue.

“There has been little or no action on the majority of our proposed programme.

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“No mobile CCTV cameras have been deployed, there's been no commitment to a programme of alley-gating, no improvement on reporting procedures for prostitution and kerb crawling, no increase in cleaning resources or improvement in reporting procedures for needles and condoms, no increase in the use of ASBOs for offenders and no extra help to get women out of prostitution or increased drug treatment.”

However Mr Ellesmere praised Suffolk police, saying it has increased visible patrols and undertaken some plain clothes work.

He also said Ipswich Borough Council has pledged to put extra street lighting in the London Road/Handford Road area.

Now he is calling for ward councillors and councillors with responsibility for community safety to sit on the town's Prostitution Steering Group - currently including staff from the borough and county council and health service.

County councillor Joanna Spicer, responsible for public protection, said that the council is tackling the problem through a multi-agency group.

She said: “Just last month I met with county councillors who represent that particular part of Ipswich. I told them about the work being done by the group and there are ongoing discussions by the county council with the police and the community drugs team outreach worker to help support the work of the group.”

Liz Harsant, borough council leader, said lots of work is going on with drug and alcohol abuse which can lead to prostitution but because it is sensitive they cannot reveal everything they are doing.

She said: “We very much appreciate how awful it is for people living around the area and are concerned for the prostitutes themselves.

“If there's anything we can do to get them off the streets we will do it but we know just moving them on isn't the answer.”

N Do you think enough is being done to tackle prostitution in Ipswich? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Weblinks:

www.ipswich-labour.org.uk

www.ipswich.gov.uk

www.suffolk.gov.uk

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