The Oldest Profession

Police put up 14 warning signs in this area to keep streets free from prostitution

Published in The Southend Echo
7th April 2017

POLICE have installed new warning signs in a no-go area for prostitution in an effort to keep the streets free from trouble. Officers put up 14 new signs on lampposts around the Southchurch area of Southend to deter both prostitutes - and kerb-crawlers - from visiting certain roads.

The effort is the latest in a long-running operation to end the practice in roads where residents frequently make complaints.

Sgt Ian Hughes, of the Southend community policing team, said although there are frequent night-time operations to catch offenders, officers could not always be there.

He said: “What we are looking at are preventative measures to deter people when we are not there. The challenge is that when we are about people either are not stopping to pick people up or the women aren’t touting for business. By putting up these signs it’s something we can do to deter people on days when we can’t be around.”

The anti-prostitution patrols, carried out under Operation Tressle, have been going on for a number of years.

In recent months, police have been using tough new criminal behaviour orders (CBOs) to target prostitutes and their clients. Suspicion is all that is needed to issue the first stage warning, which is then followed by a community protection notice if they are found in the area again.

Breaking the notice by being found a third time is a criminal offence in itself, meaning the prostitute or the client will be summonsed to court.

Mr Hughes said: “There were already a couple of signs there, for a number of years, but now we have put about 14 up. We have seen a reduction in recent months but all it takes is for the light evenings to start again. It’s something that we are always monitoring.”