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Re: Ilford Lane

Postby admin » 27 Oct 2014, 20:08

Forcing Ilford Lane’s sex workers into neighbouring boroughs is a thing of the past, Cllr Ross Hatfull has said.

The cabinet member for community safety and enforcement is working alongside Redbridge Police and Loxford ward councillors to curb the issue of prostitution on the road.

However, Cllr Hatfull said it is not in the council’s best interests to simply move on the sex workers.

He said: “Success in this instance is not to eradicate prostitution in Ilford and push it into a neighbouring borough.

Newham, Barking and Dageham all have long-running issues with sex workers too.

Cllr Hatfull added: “In the past we would push the prostitutes into Barking, two months later their police would mount an operation and push it back.

“It is now a case of all three boroughs mounting an operation to make sure that our work is more coordinated, so we are not just moving the operation around.”

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Re: Ilford Lane

Postby admin » 29 Oct 2014, 22:26

Prostitution on Ilford Lane may always exist on the road, according to one outreach worker who has been a part of a four-year project to improve relations with the women. Sophia Burley, of Safe Space Project (SSP), has engaged with the women twice-a-week, every week for the past four years.

She applauded the efforts of all the partners - including Redbridge Council - which are working hard to stop sex workers conjugating on the road, but admitted it may not be enough. “I cannot honestly say that we will get a complete end to it,” she said. “We may get a reduction but never a complete end.

“We face challenges because a lot of the women are not interested or they work long hours during the night. It takes a while to build up trust with them or the majority of women say they are here to make money due to poverty and having to take care of their families.”

The Ilford Recorder learnt last week from police around 140 arrests have been made since the murder of Mariana Popa in Ilford Lane last year. Police have admitted to switching their focus to kerb-crawlers on the road to try to reduce demand for the women “to collapse the market place”.

Miss Burley’s Safe Space Project listens and helps women who have become victims of sexual exploitation and works under the umbrella of Redbridge Street Pastors. She added she was unsure if any prostitutes were underage, but said she had her “suspicions” some may have been trafficked but she could not say for sure.

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Re: Ilford Lane

Postby admin » 27 Nov 2014, 19:36

London’s police chief branded prostitution in Ilford Lane a “menace and a blight” as he addressed residents just hours before a support worker was attacked with a knife at the notorious site. Deputy mayor for policing and crime Stephen Greenhalgh spoke out about the issue at Redbridge Town Hall on Tuesday night.

But just hours later, a 45-year-old woman was knifed in the head and back in the road while working as part of a joint initiative to support prostitutes. The attack happened yards from where pregnant prostitute Mariana Popa, 24, was brutally stabbed to death last October.

Earlier in the evening, Mr Greenhalgh, who runs the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC), told the meeting it was “absolutely essential” for the force to tackle the long-running problem of prostitution in Ilford Lane.

Speaking at the MOPAC roadshow event, he said: “It’s a menace and a blight and I’m pleased the borough commander is doing what we can within the rule of the law to tackle this. The one thing we don’t want to do is displace the problem.”

Borough commander Det Ch Supt Sue Williams said a crackdown in Ilford Lane on Saturday night had led to 17 arrests. She said: “We know what we are doing is working. Nevertheless it is difficult – Redbridge has become a place where people know prostitution takes place.”

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Cllr Wes Streeting: ‘Crush cars of kerb crawlers’

Postby admin » 08 Dec 2014, 23:34

Convicted kerb crawlers caught in Ilford Lane could be banned from the road and have their cars crushed. Calls have been made for police and the justice system to use powers to seize vehicles and impose disqualifications for criminals caught soliciting in the borough.

Deputy leader Cllr Wes Streeting said authorities had to send a “stern message” to offenders caught kerb crawling.

Speaking at a policing and crime roadshow at Redbridge Town Hall last week, Cllr Streeting said: “I wonder what more we can do, through the police and criminal justice system, to send a stern message – to seize the cars of kerb crawlers and have them crushed. We are not going to tolerate it on our streets.”

Assistant commissioner for territorial policing in the Met, Deputy Chief Constable Helen King, said officers had been briefed to ask for disqualifications and car seizures to be put in place, but the Met needed to review whether orders were being put in place. Ms King said reports the number of prostitutes working in the area had decreased was also a “good sign”.

Deputy mayor for policing and crime Stephen Greenhalgh said: “I completely agree with [Cllr Streeting] about tackling these kerb crawlers head on. Crushing their cars? I wish we could go further.” He warned against displacing the problem to other areas, but Ilford Lane residents said they should have the “same right”.

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Re: Ilford Lane

Postby admin » 19 Mar 2015, 19:48

An outreach worker has called on the police to protect Ilford Lane’s prostitutes after police claimed the women had “chosen” to continue selling sex.

Ch Insp John Fish said while the force was focusing on targeting kerb-crawlers, sex workers caught “in the act” will be arrested. He said: “I’m sure the women didn’t look forward to becoming a prostitute in Ilford. But children come out and see sex litter in their driveways. It’s inexcusable. While we have got sympathy for the women, we have sympathy for the people that have to live in the area.

“We have outreach workers – sadly none of the women have chosen any option but to continue prostitution. The majority of women in the trade aren’t Redbridge residents. They’re travelling here from abroad with the intention of earning money before returning home.”

Ch Insp Fish was speaking at Redbridge Police’s Ask Me event in St Alban’s Church, Albert Road, Ilford, on Monday. The force organised the event as part of a drive to increase public confidence in police, with residents grilling the panel of senior officers on burglary, funding cuts and gangs – as well as the work being done to tackle prostitution in Ilford Lane.

“The women aren’t choosing to change their lives,” said Ch Insp Fish. “The law’s very clear – it’s a crime. We enforce the law. When caught in the act, they are arrested.”

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Re: Ilford Lane

Postby admin » 19 May 2015, 18:13

A petition calling for action to remove prostitutes Ilford Lane has been launched by residents of a block of council flats. Neighbours at Claire House, Ilford Lane, said women could be seen working outside the front of the building every evening.

Resident Drita Lushaj said the activity made residents feel threatened, accusing prostitutes of “doing rude gestures”, fighting, buying drugs and shouting. “We are family people with children who are being exposed to these actions every night,” she said.

In a letter to the council, Ms Lushaj claimed used condoms had also been left inside the building. She said residents wanted prostitutes to be banned from Claire House and the borough.

In a joint statement, Redbridge Council and Redbridge Police’s community safety partnership reassured residents they were working to tackle the issue. “We know that prostitution has a huge impact on residents living locally and we sympathise with resident,” it said.

“Unfortunately, there’s no easy solution as this an extremely complex problem and while we’ve worked tirelessly over the last few years, we know there is still work to be done.

“We have noticed an increase in the number of prostitutes operating in the area recently which is in part due to expected seasonal fluctuations and are currently working closely with our partners to agree a range of options to address this.”

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Re: Ilford Lane

Postby admin » 03 Aug 2015, 18:05

A councillor has criticised the police’s approach to tackling prostitution, after the recent discovery of another brothel in Goodmayes. Cllr Bert Jones (Lab, Goodmayes) said the Ilford Lane crackdown “does not solve the long term issues, it just moves it to another part of the borough”.

Over the past two years the police have taken a much stronger stance against soliciting in Redbridge’s red light district.

Ch Insp John Fish, of safer neighbourhoods Redbridge, explained: “Residents and business in Ilford Lane have complained about the negative impact the on street sex trade is having on their lives.”

Councillors have commented previously that the police’s policy is thought to be driving prostitutes off the streets and into brothels in residential properties.

Redbridge police have had to close three brothels in the last 14 months in the Goodmayes ward.

Ch Insp Fish defended the policy: “I have heard accounts first hand from local people about what it’s like having a brothel near their home, they have complained about the anti social behaviour caused by the numbers of men arriving at all times of the day and night, the littering and equally rowdy behaviour.

“No one should have to tolerate this. We’ve listened to local people and I have promised that my officers will deal with brothels.

“This strong stance has drawn some criticism from some quarters that we are impacting on the welfare of sex workers, however we are working in partnership with outreach workers to make sure that the welfare of these women is considered and forms part of our policy.”

Michelle Harewood, director of Harewood Speaks, who works with prostitutes in the borough, said she “totally agreed” with Cllr Jones about the policy not solving prostitution in the long term.

She said: “The women are already very vulnerable and if they are kicked out of a brothel they become even more vulnerable.

“Then you have problems with providing them with benefits and education.

“We know street prostitution in the area is extremely dangerous and we have evidence that closing brothels puts woman at more risk.”

Ms Harewood said she thought the police could liaise more with organisations, such as the Street Pastors, who work directly with the prostitutes.

“Yes some woman choose to be prostitutes, but most of them do not. Yes there is a law, but police have their own autonomy in the borough.”


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Re: Ilford Lane

Postby tor escort » 03 Aug 2015, 19:52

The police may be reducing the apperance of street girls, but the problem is being moved elsewhere as someone else said previously. I'm suprised the girls on the street haven't figured out that you can do better and be safer by going solo and working from home where they will be warmer and more comfortable. That way they would also avoid attention from the police.
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Re: Ilford Lane

Postby admin » 01 Jul 2016, 20:58

A leading outreach worker has said police tactics undermine the safety of prostitutes, after figures showed Redbridge officers issued 150 more cautions than any other borough. A freedom of information request shows police cautioned 639 women for soliciting between 2013 and 2015 – considerably higher than Tower Hamlets and Westminster who came second and third.

Police in Wandsworth, Southwark and Redbridge’s neighbours Havering issued two cautions for prostitutes in that three year period. Redbridge police also arrested the highest number of men for soliciting prostitutes in that time – 106 arrests out of London’s total of 234. The majority of boroughs did not arrest anyone.

But outreach worker Michelle Harewood does not think this shows the borough has the biggest red light district in the capital. “It is down to the tactics of the police, but I do not think they help the safety of the women,” she said.

Over the past few years Redbridge officers have cracked down on the borough’s red light district in Ilford Lane. Mrs Harewood said: “Once the punters see the flashing lights they go down the side roads. It takes the women away from their safety net of CCTV cameras and other girls.” She continued: “The arrests don’t drive the punters out of the borough. We have had two dangerous incidents in the last few years.”

Mrs Harewood was referring to the fatal stabbing of prostitute Mariana Popa in 2013, and the slashing of outreach worker Sophia Burley a year later. “I was with Sophia and the girls when it happened,” Mrs Harewood explained. “The first thing they said to me after we had been to the police station was ‘are you coming back, we need you’.”

Redbridge Police have been contacted for comment but did not repond before we went to press.

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Re: Ilford Lane

Postby admin » 22 Aug 2016, 21:04

A new strategy to tackle prostitution in the borough will see the police’s focus shift from the sex workers to the abusers, traffickers and exploiters of the sex trade. Having taken on the challenging task to tackle prostitution in the borough, Insp Elise Gellatley, who joined Redbridge Police in May, spoke to the Recorder about her plan to crack down on criminal activities around sex workers.

Since the 2012 London Olympic Games, Redbridge police have been confronted with growing numbers of organised prostitution on the streets and in brothels. Earlier this year, a freedom of information request revealed Redbridge police had cautioned the highest number of women for soliciting in the capital – 639 between 2013 and 2015.

But under her leadership, Insp Gellatley said the emphasis would fall on those “abusing, controlling, trafficking and exploiting” sex workers rather than targeting prostitutes themselves. This approach is part of a two-fold strategy, which will see police efforts focus on enforcement and the provision of support and advice for sex workers willing to exit the trade. “I am not here to judge sex workers and I am aware that sex work polarises society. But when the demand is not there, there is a way for the women and men to leave prostitution.”

Operating in both a covert and overt way with as little as two to a dozen officers, Insp Gellatley’s team aims to disrupt clients while engaging in a relationship of trust with prostitutes. “We are trying to build communication with the sex workers so they feel able to tell us if any criminal activity takes place against them. This could be physical violence, sexual violence and trafficking, for example.”

Describing prostitution in the borough as “serious”, Insp Gellatley said being aware it was an issue for residents and her team would be concentrating on the area around Ilford Lane. “We are looking at intelligence that is sent through to us by people, who think there is a brothel or concerns about things happening on the street. 
We need to identify the people involved who are not 
necessarily standing on the street,” she said.

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Re: Ilford Lane

Postby admin » 21 Jun 2017, 22:29

Concerns about prostitution along Ilford Lane saw fed-up residents hold a public meeting in the midst of where the criminal behaviour occurs. The meeting last Friday, which was attended by Ilford South MP Mike Gapes, saw residents complain about people having sex in their garden. They also raised the issue that young men attending the al Madina mosque were being approached by sex workers nearby.

Zulfiqar Hussain, who lives in Victoria Road, said: “I see people having anal sex, oral sex, in our front garden, using our front garden to go the toilet and this is not right. I see it [soliciting] every day and can’t do anything about it.”

Ash Siddique added: “Police aren’t being seen, therefore they’re not acting as a deterrent. Ramadan is the most sensitive time of the year for Muslims. They should be giving us better police presence so people who are going to the mosque won’t be approached and asked for business.”

Newly re-elected MP Mike Gapes said he supported calls for tougher action by police. He said: “This has been a long running issue which has become much worse in recent months, partly due to cuts to local funding of police.

“Residents are pleading for something to be done. I support their calls for tougher action and a stronger police presence on Ilford Lane and nearby streets, and other action to reduce this problem and crack down on the criminal gangs behind it.”

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Re: Ilford Lane

Postby admin » 11 Jul 2017, 23:27

Police are pledging to tackle the organised gangs running prostitutes on Ilford Lane by ploughing additional resources into a wide ranging operation. After a spike in complaints during the general election and a fiery public meeting with angry residents, officers are launching the new campaign which they hope will stop the sex trade in Redbridge’s red light district.

Based from Ilford Police Station, in High Road, the partnership will incorporate police from the tri-borough area, Redbridge and Barking and Dagenham Councils and outreach charities.

The Recorder sat down for an exclusive interview with Sgt Matt Taylor, who leads the neighbourhood policing operation in Ilford Lane, to discuss the plans. “We want to make it clear that we are committed to tackling this criminality,” he said. “All of the officers who have joined the team have done so voluntarily, taking on shifts until 4am, because they want to solve the situation.”

And Sgt Taylor was quick to make clear that his detectives are targeting the pimps and criminals which organise and use the prostitutes, and not the girls themselves. “We want to offer them routes out of prostitution,” Sgt Taylor explained “We want to engage with them and educate them, and we working with lots of outreach groups to do this. The criminals that control the women, that’s where our investigation is focusing on.”

Sgt Taylor said police know the gangs are “organised”, and detectives were gathering intelligence on them at the moment. He also revealed officers had been seconded from the Romanian police force to help the operation, as a lot of the girls and pimps are thought to hail from the eastern European country. We won’t just be focusing on Ilford Lane, but also the surrounding streets where we know the criminality occurs,” Sgt Taylor continued. “Last week we confiscated two vans with mattresses in the back, which had been left in residential roads.”

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Re: Ilford Lane

Postby admin » 24 Jul 2017, 19:44

On Friday, July 21, the Barking MP visited the mosque in Victoria Road, Barking, to speak with worshippers who say they are intimidated by organised criminals operating. Joined by Redbridge Council leader Cllr Jas Athwal, she said police had been working hard to make the area safer after complaints in June that Ilford Lane, Ilford, and Victoria Road remained hotspots of antisocial behaviour after almost a decade of sex workers using in the area.

“Things are starting to move and action is being taken,” she said. “I did think this was a problem we’d dealt with but it looks as if it’s come back.”

Barking and Dagenham Council’s cabinet member for enforcement and community safety, Cllr Laila Butt, was also present after she and colleagues met with Redbridge councillors that morning.

Addressing concerned residents, Cllr Athwal said the two councils were working together to make Ilford and Barking safer, rather than just pushing prostitution out of one borough and into another. “Every time we’ve chased prostitutes from Redbridge, they’ve gone across the border to Barking,” he said. “We now have joined-up policing and at the meeting this morning we discussed how both councils can take things forward.”

And Cllr Butt said she’d already seen an increased police presence as officers use both covert and public policing to protect residents who have grown impatient with crime levels. “I’ve been up and down Ilford Lane and I’ve already noticed the change,” she said. “We need to give the police a chance.”

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