Police say that while prostitution in the Hillfields area of Coventry will come as “no surprise” to residents, it is still “unacceptable”.
It was revealed last week that the city has one of the highest rates of persistent street prostitution recorded in the country. Government figures show Coventry had a rate of soliciting for prostitution in the 12 months up to and including September 2016 that was nearly five times higher than the national average.
And now officers working in Hillfields - known for its red light district - have had their say on their issue. Inspector Ed Peake, who covers St Michael’s ward, said they are focusing on getting people out of prostitution and targeting kerb crawlers, rather than just prosecuting sex workers.
Insp Peake said: “Prostitution has been a factor within the Hillfields area of Coventry for a number of years; this will come as no surprise to many of the residents however this doesn’t make it acceptable. Over time we have tried a number of different tactics to tackle the problem including focusing on kerb crawlers, law enforcement around offenders, safeguarding and prosecution. Our emphasis is on supporting people out of prostitution and tackling kerb crawling, rather than simply prosecuting people for soliciting, in an effort to reduce reoffending.
“We now offer a STOP Programme to kerb crawlers, which is an educational rehabilitation course. The course originated in North America where the re-offending rates vary but are reported to be as low as two per cent. Every kerb crawler caught who is eligible, is referred for this course.
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