Residents still fear red light area

IPSWICH'S sex industry is still very much alive today despite numerous attempts to force prostitutes out, it has been claimed.A year on from residents telling The Evening Star that desperate punters had started knocking on their front doors to ask for sex, the community still fear for their safety in the town's red light district.

IPSWICH'S sex industry is still very much alive today despite numerous attempts to force prostitutes out, it has been claimed.

A year on from residents telling The Evening Star that desperate punters had started knocking on their front doors to ask for sex, the community still fear for their safety in the town's red light district.

And despite police presence in the area being stepped up, the community officer for the area has admitted they are fighting a losing battle.

CCTV and a new play area in Alderman Park have been installed by Ipswich Borough Council.


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But many of the residents, who were too scared to be named, said although they could see marked improvements over the last year, it still was not enough.

One Portman Road resident said she was living in a constant nightmare and rarely got any sleep from the fear of who was lurking outside her front door.

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She said: “There are always screams in the middle of the night and you never know if they are prostitute's cries for help or just revellers on their way home from a night on the town.

“My doorbell is rung at all hours by strange men and I am often confronted by kerb crawlers when I step outside my door.”

The woman, who is hoping to be able to move out of the area within the near future, said she had been asked by one prowler if she wanted to make £75 easily.

On another occasion she was stopped by a man who simply asked: “I was told this is the place to come for some happiness, where do I get some from?”

She said: “Over the last year things have got better and every time I look outside my window there are community support officers walking past or police cars patrolling the area.

“The council have worked hard in the area too by sorting out the park but the problem is still there.

“Just because some of the prostitutes have moved on to other areas in the town, there are still some of them here and I worry that the rest will come back soon.”

Another resident, from Alderman Road, who has lived in the area her whole life said she still felt scared to leave her house by herself.

She said: “I have never been approached by a kerb crawler but am often followed by men when I leave the house.

“I have also seen several prostitutes with punters on the park. They don't seem to care about the CCTV cameras and often the cameras are facing the other way, over the football ground.”

Two years ago prostitute Cara Martin-Brown was murdered in Alderman Park. The area has also been the scene of other attacks on women over the years.

Do you think enough is being done in this area? Are you are a prostitute who wants to tell your side of the story? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

A POLICE officer who continually struggles to clear the streets of prostitution today admitted he is fighting a loosing battle.

Pc John Banks, has policed Ipswich town centre's streets for four years and says there is still a long way to go to help residents out.

He said: “As long as there is prostitution there will always be reasons for residents to worry and we are never going to get rid of prostitution.

“We do not agree with the idea of a tolerance zone to keep all of the girls in one area because that would be condoning their actions. We enforce crimes of prostitution and kerb crawling and always will do.

“We don't have an organised vice team in Ipswich and that is what is needed to tackle the problem seriously.

“We are doing all we can but there are just five community support officers in the town and we just have to go out to police the streets in this area when we are working late shifts.

“Several of the women who do walk the streets have started moving into the area because of the types of accommodation provided there.

“This means they can simply walk outside their front doors and start working, which certainly makes things a lot easier for them.”

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