City officers carrying out proactive operations to tackle kerb-crawling
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Officers from the Central Leicester Neighbourhood Policing Area (NPA) are carrying out proactive operations to tackle kerb-crawling in the city.
Soliciting another person for the purpose of obtaining a sexual service in a street or public place is a criminal offence – and includes the use of a vehicle.
Street prostitution is just one visible representation of sexual exploitation and it can be intrinsically linked to a number of other offences such as drug and substance misuse and violent offences.
Parts of the city - including De Montfort Street and the surrounding area - have been places of concern for teams from the NPA, which led to the launch of Operation Flatten.
Aimed at tackling the issue of kerb crawling and gathering information about people frequenting the area, the operation is also involves continual work to protect and safeguard those involved in street prostitution.
Sergeant Amanda Boswell, who leads the city sex worker team, said: “Operations such as this are important to target those who pose a continual risk to the women that my team works hard to protect.
“We liaise with sex workers on a regular basis, handing out basic essentials donated to us from the local charity Saffires. My team engages with the women to build up trusting relationships so they feel they can report crimes to us.
“We work closely with partner agencies to safeguard those women from harm.”
At the beginning of August officers visited the area and detained 11 men for kerb-crawling offences. A number of drug-related offences were also identified.
Two men were arrested and one vehicle was seized for driving-related offences.
Five of those detained have received conditional cautions, with conditions to attend an appointment with the force’s Liaise and Diversion Scheme. The initiative aims to address the reasons behind their offending.
Two men also received a referral to Turning Point for drug misuse. Arrangements are being made for officers to speak to others about their actions.
Sergeant Boswell added: “We’re very much aware of the impact this offending and other linked crime has on the local community.
“Operations like Op Flatten are implemented with the aim of having a positive impact on those issues and – I hope – provide the community with some reassurance that we will take action.
“We’d encourage anyone with information in relation to sexual exploitation to get in touch. We will endeavour to investigate and work with partner agencies to support those victims.”
Further information regarding rape and sexual offences – including how to report such matters and what support is available – can be found by visiting https://www.leics.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/rsa/rape-and-sexual-assault/