Anger over police no-show at Hightown prostitution meeting

Worried residents in High Town have slammed Beds Police after the force failed to show up to a meeting designed to deal with the area’s problem with prostitution.

A dozen residents turned up to a joint action group meeting at Milner Court, Wenlock Street, on Thursday – which had been advertised as a chance for homeowners to air their views on High Town’s street sex trade.

Despite waiting more than two hours residents were left disappointed as a representative from Beds Police failed to appear.

Shahzad Khadam, who spearheads the High Town Against Prostitution campaign group, issued his dismay at the no-show.

He told the Luton News: “It is unbelieveable, as a community we shouldn’t have to be doing all of the work ourselves but it seems like we are.

“We go out onto the streets at night regularly to ask prostitutes to move on but we do not have much success, they feel like they are invulnerable.

“It has not got any better at all, in fact we feel in many ways that things have got worse for us here.”

High Town resident Matt Ryan added: “This just goes to show how much they care about solving this problem for us, it is incredible.

“We are really sick of this, it feels like High Town has been designated as a red light district and no-one is willing to change this.”

Inspector Jason Cahill said: “We would like to apologise to members of the public who attended this Joint Action Group meeting.

“The meetings are a useful tool which give people the opportunity to talk about issues which affect them, we are disappointed that no-one from the police was able to attend on this occasion.”

In July 2013 Luton Borough Council and Beds Police announced that they had devised a new five-year strategy to deal with sex workers, pimps and kerb crawlers often spotted in High Town.

Nearly two years later the force says it remains on task to clean up the area.

Inspector Jason Cahill added: “We are committed to working with our communities to address problems which matter to them and are continuing to run Operation Turtle in the area to tackle a range of anti-social behaviour including prostitution and drug use.

“We would urge members of the public to contact us if they have any information about crime in their area.”