Chief Insp Simon Anslow has moved on to clearing suspected brothels now‘We need your help to close brothels’
SOUTHEND’S police chief says he faces an uphill battle to get enough evidence to close down brothels under current laws, despite repeated complaints from residents.
Chief Insp Simon Anslow, district commander for Southend, responded to criticism from residents who reported a brothel was operating in London Road, Westcliff, in November, which they say is still operating.
He revealed it is just one of a number of suspected brothels being investigated in Southend, including one in Retreat Road, Westcliff, which was raided by police last month, after a resident raised fears for the safety of women in the property. He said: “We have had a number of reports of brothels in recent weeks and months.
“Most of these have raised concerns about antisocial behaviour surrounding the locations, with lots of people coming and going at different times of day, and the worry of what risks the prostitutes and clientele might bring to the area.
“There is understandable frustration these locations continue to operate, however, the law does not allow for the police to simply close premises down on a suspicion it is a brothel.
“Where there are legitimate concerns prostitutes are being made to work against their will, we will act swiftly to gain access to the premises and check on the welfare of those inside.
“This is action that we took in Retreat Road, Westcliff, recently and arrests were made. But this does not necessarily mean premises can then be closed.”
The Ab Fab Massage Parlour, in London Road, now called the Ab Fab Beauty Parlour, continues to attract men, who loiter around the premises at all hours say residents.
Southend Council stopped the operator using the flat above an empty shop as a massage parlour as it had no licence, but the council said it could legally do nomore and added it was a matter for police to deal with.
Campaigners say they will grill Essex Police and Crime Commissioner Nick Alston about the matter at a public meeting on Wednesday, January 8.
Mr Anslow said: “I understand that people in Southend want to see a visible response to this issue and we are in the process of collecting evidence that will support closure orders under new powers to deal with antisocial behaviour
“To get this evidence, we need the people that are affected by the suspected brothel to provide statements.
“Some of our previous efforts around premises identified have been frustrated by people being reluctant to get further involved, but without legally admissible evidence, we cannot be sure of effectively dealing with the problem.
“We are working with our partners in order to come at the problem from different angles and ensure that people engaged in illegal activities cannot play one agency off against another. This work will continue over the coming weeks and months.”
Anyone with information about suspected brothels is urged to contact Essex Police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonmously on 0800 555111.http://oldestprof.com/index.php/crimewa ... e-brothels