Romanian police and Safer Neighbourhoods officers team up to tackle new prostitution ring in Ilford Lane

Nic arrives to help translate for some curb crawlers

Nic arrives to help translate for some curb crawlers - Credit: Archant

Romanian police are joining forces with Safer Neighbourhoods Team officers and outreach workers to tackle a new prostitution ring that has emerged in Ilford Lane.

On-street prostitution has increased in Ilford Lane and surrounding areas, according to a statement tweeted by Redbridge police on Tuesday, May 22.

An operation to “divert sex workers and deal with those seeking their services” launched on Tuesday night and runs until May 26.

Insp Lee Canter, of Redbridge Safer Neighbourhoods Team, said: “Romanian police officers will be joining Loxford ward officers this week to facilitate communication with Romanian sex workers.”

He said that the officers will initial approach is to engage with the sex workers in conjunction with outreach workers from sexual health charity the Terrence Higgins Trust.

He added: “It is important that we ascertain if any of them have been trafficked or are being controlled before any enforcement activity takes place.

“There will of course be immediate enforcement against those seeking the services of sex workers.

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This comes following a similar operation launched in June last year which also aimed at banning curbcrawlers by using Romanian detectives, the charity Refuge and dispersal orders.

Commenting on this previous initiative, Insp Canter said: “The operation was extremely successful and a huge reduction in activity and crime was achieved.

Volunteer special constables have also been deployed to address this issue every weekend and Redbridge and Barking and Dagenham police will continue to work in partnership with the council to tackle the issue, according to the statement.

In January, Redbridge Council launched a public consultation on introducing £100 on the spot fines for people believed to attempting to sleep with a prostitute.

A prostitution Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) would enable council officers and police to fine individuals they believe are attempting to buy sex.

Responding to this news on Facebook, eight Recorder readers expressed frustration at the ongoing issue of prostitution on Ilford Lane.

One commenter, Joseph Stynes, said: “Would it not be a better idea to tackle the social inequalities that produce the circumstances that drive women into prostitution in the first place?”