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'We will disrupt them': Two Ilford brothels shut down after raids by council and police officers

PUBLISHED: 17:00 21 October 2019

High enforcement visibility in Ilford Lane has led to an increase in pop-up brothels in the area, police said. Picture: Met Police

High enforcement visibility in Ilford Lane has led to an increase in pop-up brothels in the area, police said. Picture: Met Police

Archant

Police and council officers have been congratulated for their hard work following the closure of two brothels in the borough.

Police raided five suspected pop-up brothels in Redbridge. Picture: Met PolicePolice raided five suspected pop-up brothels in Redbridge. Picture: Met Police

On Wednesday, October 16, more than 30 officers from the Metropolitan Police and Redbridge Council raided five suspected pop-up brothels and discovered two in operation in south Ilford.

The intelligence-led operation, codenamed Magpie, included council enforcement officers, the Response Task Force, CID, safer neighbourhood teams and the Human Tracking Unit.

Fifteen women were taken away to safety following the raids and are being offered support to exit their involvement in prostitution.

The seven-hour operation comes off the back of a raft measures already in place to tackle prostitution and community concerns, the council said.

The past few months have seen an increased police and council enforcement presence in Ilford Lane to combat crime and support the Public Space Protection Order (PSPO), which bans attempts to buy sexual services from another person in a public place.

It also enables enforcement officers and police to issue on-the-spot fines to those caught breaching the order.

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The joint enforcement, high-visibility patrols, coupled with CCTV and ANPR enforcement, and intelligence gathering have already reduced street prostitution in the area, the council said.

Councillor Jas Athwal, Redbridge Council leader, said: "I'd like to congratulate the police and council officers on the success of this joint operation.

"As a council, we're already doing a huge amount to tackle prostitution in the borough.

"But this is a long-term problem and one which requires us to work in close partnership with the police, and I am looking forward to continuing our work together.

"Our priority is to engage and support women to exit prostitution, whilst sending a strong message to the criminals behind this activity that we will disrupt them at all levels, not just on the streets at night."

Insp Barrie Beyler from the Metropolitan Police Response Taskforce said: "This operation was a successful example of numerous agencies coming together working within a multi-agency approach to protect vulnerable women who appeared to be exploited for financial gain.

"The purpose of the operation was to safeguard these individuals whilst offering ongoing support to deter such future illicit activities.

"Redbridge residents should be reassured that we will tackle any form of anti-social behaviour and that together with our council partners close such premises."

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