VICE patrols have been stepped up in Doncaster’s red-light district after a rise in reports of prostitution.
Despite the harsh winter, residents have complained that the problem of sex workers loitering in the streets around Thorne Road and Town Moor has resurfaced again.
After public meetings, the police’s Urban Safer Neighbourhood Team have made the issue their local priority.
The area has long been blighted with sex workers and kerb crawlers but a series of high profile operations in recent years appeared to have reduced the problem.
South Yorkshire Police say they are not sure why it has become a problem again, but suggest operations to contain anti-social behaviour in other parts of Doncaster last November and over Christmas may have allowed a ‘surge’ in the number of prostitutes working on the streets either side of Thorne Road.
Officers carried out a leaflet drop in the area to reassure residents they are addressing the problem.
So far this year police have carried out 23 separate evening enforcement operations. More than 50 cautions have been issued to people committing loitering offences.
Nine people have also been arrested, some for kerb crawling, and one for attempted abduction.
On one night last month officers found 10 girls working the streets, and seven the following evening.
There have also been multi-agency events designed to divert individuals engaged in prostitution away from such a lifestyle.
“It’s having the right effect and it will continue because we want to get the message out,” said Insp Carl Lindley, of the Urban SNT.
“The Doncaster Urban Safer Neighbourhood Team and the local community have seen a recent rise in prostitution, which is partly attributable to an increase in kerb crawling in the latter part of 2012 and the local community having an increased confidence in reporting issues to the SNT and now the council.
“The Urban Safer Neighbourhood Team have made issues linked to prostitution a local PACT priority.
“As a result the Partnership, including the Neighbourhood Response Team, have made significant efforts to increase visibility and public confidence and prosecute offenders for loitering and kerb crawling.
“The Safer Neighbourhood Team have also gained the assistance of a range of support agencies in order to safeguard vulnerable individuals linked with this lifestyle.
“The SNT remains fully focused on issues linked to prostitution, and continues to secure success in this area using a range of enforcement, prevention and community engagement activities.”