York & North Yorkshire

Hull prostitution cut by police clampdown

Red light area in Hull
Image caption Prostitution activity in the city fell after police turned their attention to the men coming into red light areas

The number of prostitutes working in Hull has dropped by about half since a team was set up to target kerb-crawlers, police have said.

The team set up 18 months ago switched the emphasis from arresting sex workers to dealing with their customers.

Since then, about 250 men have been dealt with by police, most being sent on courses to change their behaviour.

The subsequent drop in demand had seen the number of prostitutes operating in the city drop from about 100 to 50.

Humberside Police said that only one man had reoffended since being caught in the city's red light district during the clampdown.

The police operation has been organised in conjunction with the city council and voluntary groups in Hull.

Sex workers have been be guided to agencies which can help them leave the trade.

Those arrested for soliciting have been sent to specialist education programmes designed to change their behaviour.

Pc Jon Barratt, a member of the missing persons and exploitation team, said: "We do try to keep it relatively discreet because a lot of these guys will be married or have girlfriends and they don't want their partners to find out.

"They are given the option of going on the 'change course' and that is where they are really shocked, I think, by the truth."

No more noise

He said most men who used prostitutes saw their behaviour as "a victimless crime", but changed their minds when confronted with the fact that 95% were selling sex to fund a class A drugs habit.

Residents living near the red light areas said they had also noticed a reduction in prostitution.

Raymond Bolton, who lives in Hessle Road, said: "There's no noise at night, but there used to be.

"They used to call to each other quite regularly at three or four in the morning, shouting 'How are you doing? Have you had any customers?', but they don't now."

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