Police urged to 'step up' efforts to tackle prostitution in Romford Road

PICTURE POSED BY MODEL Stock photo of a sex worker in Vauxhall, London.

Manor Park neighbours have called on the police to do more to help women sex workers off the streets around Romford Road. (Stock photo posed by a model). - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

The police have been urged to step up efforts to help "vulnerable" sex workers off the streets.

Neighbours and councillors in Manor Park want the Met and Newham Council to do more to help women who sell sex in and around Romford Road.

Resident Islam Noor said: "People need to look at the root causes. Those girls need help."

Fellow resident Mohammed Chowdhury said he regularly sees women waiting for custom but has never seen a police officer stop and intervene.

Cllr Salim Patel called on police to speak to the women, adding that residents have raised the issue with him "time after time."

A total of 155 people wrote to East Ham MP Stephen Timms about the issue of increasing prostitution. Mr Timms urged the Met to hatch a plan with the council.

"[The] police need to step up and ask us or the local authority to give them support," Cllr Patel said.

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Cllr Ken Clark called on the force to release evidence of what it is doing to tackle the issue, including the number of arrests and kerb crawlers caught.

The Met was asked, but did not provide the Recorder with figures.

Instead a spokesperson said: "We are aware of concerns raised from the community about prostitution and associated anti-social behaviour in and around the Romford Road area.

"Officers from neighbourhood policing teams regularly patrol the area and will continue to do so. Where criminal offences are identified then those responsible will be prosecuted.

"We work closely with charities and support groups to ensure women identified as being involved in prostitution can access the network of support available to them."

A council spokesperson said efforts to address sex work issues in Romford Road focus on women's safety and the targeting of those who exploit "these vulnerable people".

"The needs of the community are also a priority as they witness and are also affected by these issues so work continues to reassure residents and businesses of our operations," he added.

A number of agencies support women in Newham, including Hestia, Change Grow Live, NIA, Doctors of the World. A town hall service also offers outreach and healthcare surgeries. The council also targets male buyers of sex via a Met led scheme.