Crimes down 21% after police operation in Ilford Lane

Crime overall has gone down in the area thanks to police tackling prostitution. Picture: Yui Mok

Crime overall has gone down in the area thanks to police tackling prostitution. Picture: Yui Mok - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Police have arrested more than 40 people and issued 41 cautions as part of a crackdown on prostitution in Ilford Lane.

In the area, all crimes are down by 21per cent, with sexual offences declining by 50pc in the past nine months.

In April 2017 the Loxford Safer Neighbourhood Team took the lead in tackling prostitution and associated anti-social behaviour.

Intelligence suggested that up to 25 women were operating from there and demand for prostitution services was a catalyst for other associated crimes.

Police consultations also revealed that residents felt harassed, alarmed and distressed by the criminal activity that was taking place within their community.

“We targeted kerb crawlers and built up intelligence on those co-ordinating prostitution in the area,” the officer said.

“We set up dispersal zones and were authorised to remove prostitutes, kerb crawlers and any others involved in anti-social behaviour. We used prostitute cautions for those women refusing to engage and Community Protection Notices were issued to those who continued to solicit in the area.”

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The officer said by employing this tactic not only did overall crime reduce by a fifth but robbery went down by 33pc and violence against the person went down by 21pc.

“Simple” initiatives such as gateing off problem areas and increasing the lighting also helped to address the issue as did the use of new HD CCTV cameras, that can zoom in without blurring.

“We are doing everything we can to discourage people,” he added. “We have also commissioned the services of organisations that deal with violence against women and they do a lot of work there.”

The police said they won’t be able to keep the operations in the long term and the initiative has been exhaustive and intensive but also random.

“It has been very intermittent so people don’t recognise a pattern,” a Redbridge police officer said.

“We will go down for three nights, then one night and then two nights so they can’t guess when. We will not be able to maintain it.”

He said that the agenda for Redbridge has shifted focus to modern slavery, women in brothels and organised crime connected to it.