Police granted new powers to combat prostitution in Ilford
Police have been granted powers to move people away from Ilford Lane and surrounding areas in a bid to tackle prostitution.
Redbridge Council has given permission for a dispersal zone to be set up around the area which means the police can move on groups of two or more people.
The move was welcomed as a positive step by the borough Commander Sue Williams and councillors in tackling the problem, which prompted a 2,528 strong petition from Loxford residents in November.
The zone will be in place for six months after which it will be reviewed. Det Ch Supt Williams said: “It’s very positive to see a dispersal zone in this area as it allows the police to easily move people on, whether they be prostitutes, pimps or kerb crawlers, and help rid the area of this kind of activity.”
Cllr Shoaib Patel, the cabinet member for environment and community safety, said, “This is another step in the right direction.”
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Moving out from Ilford Lane, the zone applies on the west side from Audrey Road south to Fairfield Road, working 150 metres down each side road.
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On the east side, it runs from Albert Road south to the BP service station, again going 150 metres down each side road. People ignoring the orders could receive three months in prison and a �2,500 fine.
A council spokesman said it will run joint operations with the police during the dispersal zone’s existence.
This will include using a CCTV van to capture footage of kerb crawlers.
Since October, there have been 25 arrests, 156 prostitute cautions and seven anti-social behaviour orders resulting from anti-prostitution operations in the area.
Cllr Filly Maravala, a Labour councillor for Loxford ward, called on the council and police to request funding from the Greater London Authority to support the work.