Prostitution strategy deserves support

IPSWICH'S new strategy for dealing with prostitution has been worked out over many months and was accelerated when the dreadful events at the end of last year unfolded.

IPSWICH'S new strategy for dealing with prostitution has been worked out over many months and was accelerated when the dreadful events at the end of last year unfolded.

The results of that work were today being unveiled, showing how all aspects of what is recognised as a major problem should be tackled in the town.

It is disappointing that, in advance of this overall launch, certain elements of the strategy have been revealed in advance.

As a newspaper we often rely on unauthorised leaks to help build up a full picture of major stories - we would not have known about the crisis facing Ipswich Buses or the county council's privatisation discussions without leaks.

However on this occasion the details which emerged early focussed on only one aspect of the strategy and have helped to created a distorted view of what is being proposed.

Those elements of the strategy have been spun by opposition leader David Ellesmere and today by the English Collective of Prostitutes to make their own political points.

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What the dreadful events at the end of last year showed was that the people of Ipswich recognised that the women walking the streets are victims of society themselves.

They are victims of a reliance on drugs and the need to earn quick money for their next hit.

The full strategy outlined today has many very welcome elements and when taken as a whole is a valuable blueprint for the future - so long as rentaquotes don't jump on individual paragraphs.

And our Somebody's Daughter appeal should also help make the strategy work. Eventually there should be a refuge to help young women build a new life for themselves away from the twin risks of drugs and prostitution.

That should be the real aim of the prostitution strategy - not a quick attempt to grab the headlines from a selective release of a report.

OPERATION Stack was once again activated last night as police at the Port of Felixstowe decided it was too unsafe to carry on operating the huge cranes.

Yet again this caused major problems on the A14 and in the communities on the Felixstowe peninsula like Kirton, Trimley, and Walton.

While no one would want to the port to put its workers at risk by carrying on in dangerous conditions, it is right to ask who made the decision to close down when the wind was not particularly strong.

And if the port does close down, why are lorries then expected to park up on the roads? The port's own operations have expanded dramatically over recent years and there is surely space to accommodate all the lorries heading there during a relatively short storm.

AS staff from the PCT start settling into their plush new offices in the middle of the Suffolk countryside between Bramford and Claydon today, we hope they enjoy working in such an attractive location.

However we will continue to monitor the activities of PCT bosses like a hawk - and will continue to ask questions about their decision to move to Paper Mill Lane when there were plenty of empty offices already owned by the NHS in Suffolk.

As the PCT gets a welcome injection of new blood from retiring public service chiefs in Suffolk we will continue to ask the awkward questions about the money they spend on administration rather than patient care.