20 August 2015
In parts of the country with high levels of prostitution, the police have often been at a loss as to how best to deal with the issue effectively and fairly. Finding a balance between protecting sex workers and keeping local residents happy can be all but impossible, and few forces have found a suitable long term solution.
In most cases, the police try to move sex workers on, often forcing them into more dangerous situations and placing them even further away from the agencies and organisations that can help them.
In Newport, Gwent, the police are considering a radically different approach. Inspired by pilot schemes in the north of England, Newport police are considering introducing “managed” prostitution in certain parts of the city.
They plan to provide sex workers with a safe area where they can operate away from busy residential zones and local businesses. Sex workers operating in this designated area won’t be arrested by the police while they’re working and will have access to a range of support services and organisations.
In these allocated spaces, sex workers will come into contact with organisations that can help them to get off of the streets, access health care and provide information about the services and support available to them.
Though there is opposition to the scheme from some local residents and some politicians, the Newport Police force hopes that “managed” prostitution will provide sex workers with a safe place to operate from and ensure that prostitution is kept to designated parts of the city.
Results from pilot schemes across the country are still being analysed, so it’s not yet possible to say whether or not this type of approach works. Newport Police have said that they won’t implement the scheme until its benefits are more clearly assessed. However, if these schemes show impressive results, it could well be rolled out into certain areas of Newport in the near future.
Providing a safe place for sex workers to operate and keeping local residents happy is the goal of most police forces in the UK. If this scheme helps to combat the exploitation of sex workers and cuts down on anti social behaviour, it will be good news for everyone in Newport and a possible sign that attitudes to sex work are beginning to change across the country.
If you’d like to find out more about the help and support that’s available to sex workers, get in touch with Doorway Women’s Services today on our free, confidential support line on 0808 800 1030.