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28 October 2010, 11:17 | Updated: 28 October 2010, 15:36
A big police operation targeting kerb-crawlers has been going in Bournemouth.
12 men have been arrested by officers, who are trying to stop prostitution going on in the town.
The men, aged between 26 and 66, all from the Dorset and Hampshire areas, were arrested in a recent operation that combined visible and undercover police activity.
Sergeant James Layfield who led the operation said: “This operation is about ridding the streets of east Bournemouth of prostitution and associated drug use and violence.
“During the last few weeks we’ve focussed on targeting men who appear to have been trawling the streets looking for and picking up prostitutes for their own self gratification. We have also had reports of men approaching law-abiding local women going about their daily routine.
“In terms of the women working as prostitutes, what a majority of these men are unaware of is that many of these women are victims. They are victims of sexual abuse, drug abuse and violence and by using them these men are victimising them even further.”
To make those arrested aware of their part in victimising these women, six of the men have been ordered to attend a rehabilitation programme.
These men were first-time offenders and admitted their guilt in police interview, making them eligible to attend Hampshire Police’s Change Programme where they will be educated on the consequences of using prostitutes.
A 59-year-old Bournemouth man has been charged with soliciting a person for the purpose of prostitution. Four men, aged 26, 36, 62 and 65 and all from Bournemouth,were given police cautions. Another man was released without charge.
During the operation four women were arrested and charged with soliciting.
The women, a 22-year-old and a 37-year-old, both from Bournemouth, and a 26-year-old and a 27-year-old, both of no fixed abode, have been bailed to appear at court.
Sergeant Layfield continued: “This is just part of what is a long-term approach to dealing with prostitution and associated drug use and violence in this area.
“The aim is to get women who are working on the streets signed up to Engagement and Support Orders.
“Under the orders, women are required to engage with specialist support services to address the underlying causes of their behaviour such as drug abuse – thereby supporting them and keeping them from working on the streets.”
In addition, six men and a woman were arrested on suspicion of drugs offences.
A 29-year-old man from Liverpool, a 29-year-old man from Bournemouth and a 24-year-old woman of no fixed abode, have been released on bail while enquires continue.
Two men, aged 30 and 34, both from Bournemouth, and a man, aged 37,from Christchurch, were given police cautions. A 37-year-old Bournemouth man was given a conditional discharge.
Sergeant Layfield said: “In targeting prostitution, this operation also aims to get both violence and drug abuse off the streets and, in doing so, not only offers support to vulnerable women but makes Bournemouth a better place to live for the majority of law-abiding residents.”
This activity is part of a sustained period of police action in Bournemouth which has already seen 30 arrests made between Wednesday, 1 September and Tuesday, 7 September 2010 with warrants under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 being executed at addresses in the Boscombe, Lansdowne and Westbourne areas of Bournemouth.
So far, 23 men and two women have been charged with the supply of Class A drugs.
Two men and one woman have been released on bail while enquiries continue, and two men have been released without charge.
Six men, aged 17, 22, 31, 34, 36 and 41, and one 37-year-old woman, all from the Bournemouth area, have pleaded guilty to drugs offences.