The council is tackling kerb crawling by giving offenders one chance to avoid being prosecuted by attending an educational programme, “Stop and Think”, which aims to prevent reoffending.
Kerb crawlers who are caught by council enforcement officers (THEOs) or the police must pay £200 to attend the programme, which has been hailed a success in reducing reoffending by community safety teams in East London.
Failure to attend the programme results in prosecution at court.
John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets said:
“Residents have told us they are concerned about crime and anti-social behaviour. This is just one of the innovative programmes we are using to help make our streets safer by disrupting crime markets.”
Councillor Asma Begum, cabinet member for community safety added:
“Women involved in prostitution are vulnerable and often experience issues such as substance misuse, domestic abuse and involvement in crime. This programme helps stop people from repeatedly kerb crawling and driving demand for criminal behaviour.”
Since October 2017, 29 people have gone through the programme and one person has reoffended. He was charged and sent to court, where he received a 12 month conditional discharge, £85 fine and a surcharge of £20.
The council funds a support service, Door of Hope, to help women out of prostitution and offers outreach support to women on streets.
£3 million of council money has also been used to fund an additional 39 police officers in the borough over the next three years. This additional resource will be used to tackle a range of criminal and anti-social behaviours across the borough.
The number of sex workers in the UK is estimated to be around 72,800 with about 32,000 working in London.