Police promise tougher action on prostitution on Ilford Lane

Mike Gapes MP met with residents and members of the police force to discuss concerns over prostiutio

Mike Gapes MP met with residents and members of the police force to discuss concerns over prostiution in Ilford Lane - Credit: Archant

Concerns about prostitution along Ilford Lane saw fed-up residents hold a public meeting in the midst of where the criminal behaviour occurs.

The meeting last Friday, which was attended by Ilford South MP Mike Gapes, saw residents complain about people having sex in their garden

They also raised the issue that young men attending the al Madina mosque were being approached by sex workers nearby.

Zulfiqar Hussain, who lives in Victoria Road, said: “I see people having anal sex, oral sex, in our front garden, using our front garden to go the toilet and this is not right.

“I see it [soliciting] every day and can’t do anything about it.”

Ash Siddique added: “Police aren’t being seen, therefore they’re not acting as a deterrent.

“Ramadan is the most sensitive time of the year for Muslims.

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“They should be giving us better police presence so people who are going to the mosque won’t be approached and asked for business.”

Newly re-elected MP Mike Gapes said he supported calls for tougher action by police.

He said: “This has been a long running issue which has become much worse in recent months, partly due to cuts to local funding of police.

“Residents are pleading for something to be done. I support their calls for tougher action and a stronger police presence on Ilford Lane and nearby streets, and other action to reduce this problem and crack down on the criminal gangs behind it.”

Other concerns raised at Friday’s meeting included prostitutes appearing to get “younger and younger” and the problem having “exploded” in the last couple of years.

Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays were highlighted as being the worst days.

Borough commander Ch Supt Jason Gwillim, who leads policing across Redbridge, Barking and Havering, said that he was “looking at a programme that goes across all three boroughs”.

He added: “First of all it’s about looking at that people who are controlling the girls.

“Some of those girls have chosen this as a lifestyle choice. We have to ask if that’s a real choice.”

Mr Gapes said he was encouraged by the discussions and would be monitoring any plans set out by the police.