Men face charges of kerb crawling in Doncaster

A prostitute at work
A prostitute at work

Ten men have been told they face police action under an ongoing crackdown on prostitution on Thorne Road, Doncaster.

And another has been handed a two-year anti-social behaviour order to stop him looking for women in the area.

The moves are among a string of measures taken by officers who have been trying to deal with the issue, along with more than 50 arrests on the streets.

It follows complaints by the public which led to the issue being made a priority by the Safer Neighbourhood Team, which have led to more than 500 hours of police patrols since the action started in April.

Officers say 10 suspected kerb crawlers have been reported on summons and nine have been sent on a so-called Change course - a specialist education programmes designed to change behaviour.

Officers say some 40 street warnings have been issued to women in the area. And 13 women have been arrested and subsequently charged for prostitution related offences. Another seven women have been arrested on suspicion of breaching bail conditions and antisocial behaviour orders.

There have also been 31 arrests on suspicion of other offences including thefts, assaults and public order offences.

Temporary Inspector Carl Lindley of the Doncaster Urban Safer Neighbourhood Team said tackling prostitution-related issues continued to be a concern for the community, and was a priority.

He said: “We are working closely with support agencies in order to manage the needs and vulnerabilities of those already involved, as well as those at risk of entering this type of lifestyle.

“South Yorkshire Police have also recently introduced the areas first ‘Change Programme’, which is designed to hold those who create the demand for illegal sex work to account for their actions.

“The initiative is self-funded by the offenders themselves who pay for the course to be administered. The course is run in other parts of the country, with a less than two per cent re-offending rate. Seven offenders caught kerb crawling in the Doncaster area received a Police caution following their completion of the course. And 10 other individuals who failed to accept the course have been summoned to court.

Rev Andy West, minister for the Wheatley Park Baptist Church, said: “If you have to face that all the time it’s not good. It’s what message it sends out to the children of the area as well, and the fact there are people driving around in cars who are looking for sex. It’s just a sense of feeling uneasy.”

Rev West said locals are welcoming the police’s efforts, but stress permanent measures need to be put in place to keep on top of the ongoing problem.

“It’s been an issue for a long time,” he said. “It’s great the police are taking it seriously and it’s great it’s being clamped down. The trouble with these things is there has to be an ongoing response to the prostitution and the kerb crawling. As soon as the police operation stops, after a few months it will probably be back to normal.”

He added: “One concern now is the lack of support for the girls themselves. They often have sad stories and are in a situation, for various reasons, that they do what they do to make a living.”

Since April, police have hosted six Town Moor multi-agency drop-in sessions at which 37 women attended and were offered support and referrals.

The issue remains a Partners and Communities Together priority for the safer neighbourhood team.