Police chief says tackling prostitution is ‘absolutely essential’


- Credit: Archant

London’s police chief branded prostitution in Ilford Lane a “menace and a blight” as he addressed residents just hours before a support worker was attacked with a knife at the notorious site.

Deputy mayor for policing and crime Stephen Greenhalgh spoke out about the issue at Redbridge Town Hall on Tuesday night.

But just hours later, a 45-year-old woman was knifed in the head and back in the road while working as part of a joint initiative to support prostitutes.

The attack happened yards from where pregnant prostitute Mariana Popa, 24, was brutally stabbed to death last October.

Earlier in the evening, Mr Greenhalgh, who runs the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC), told the meeting it was “absolutely essential” for the force to tackle the long-running problem of prostitution in Ilford Lane.

Speaking at the MOPAC roadshow event, he said: “It’s a menace and a blight and I’m pleased the borough commander is doing what we can within the rule of the law to tackle this.

“The one thing we don’t want to do is displace the problem.”

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Borough commander Det Ch Supt Sue Williams said a crackdown in Ilford Lane on Saturday night had led to 17 arrests.

She said: “We know what we are doing is working. Nevertheless it is difficult – Redbridge has become a place where people know prostitution takes place.”

The woman – whose injuries were not said to be life-threatening – was taken to hospital following the attack.

A man was also tasered by police at the scene.

Any witnesses to Tuesday night’s incident should call police on 101 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

A man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and was still in custody at an east London police station last night.