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Sex Laws Info

Kerb Crawling


 Section 19 of the Policing and Crime Act 2009 introduces section 51A into the Sexual Offences Act 2003 and creates a new offence for a person in a street or public place to solicit another for the purpose of obtaining a sexual service as a prostitute. The reference to a person in a street or public place includes a person in a motor vehicle in a street or public place.

This replaces the offences of kerb crawling and persistent soliciting under sections 1 and 2 of the Sexual Offences Act 1985 with effect from 1 April 2010.


A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale (£1000).

The effect of this amendment is to remove the requirement to prove persistence. This will enable the charge and prosecution of an offender on the first occasion they are found to be soliciting without the need to prove persistent behaviour, or that the behaviour is likely to cause annoyance or nuisance to others.

Sometimes an approach may be adopted between the police and the Crown Prosecution Service designed to respond to local circumstances and the local prevalence of kerb crawling. For example, high visibility policing in red light areas, with posters advertising that kerb crawlers will be prosecuted and disqualified and with signs in these areas detailing how many kerb crawlers have been arrested and prosecuted. Some police forces carry out regular surveillance operations in known red light areas, with a zero tolerance strategy adopted. All those arrested are bailed to the same court date, dealt with by the same bench and the local press are encouraged to report it.On conviction in appropriate cases, the prosecution may draw the court's attention to any relevant statutory provisions relating to ancillary orders for kerb crawling such as their powers to disqualify from driving under section 146 of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 or to deprive an offender of property, used to commit or facilitate the offence under Section 143 Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000. In extreme cases, this could lead to the confiscation of a serial offender’s motor car.