Pounding the pavements with police; prostitution crackdown
Shivering on a street corner until the early hours, selling sex for as little as a fiver and putting themselves in danger.
Sex workers’ situations are clearly desperate, but residents who live in the red light area of High Town are increasingly desperate too
Years of prostitution on their doorsteps have driven them to despair. Streets are littered with condoms and needles, men and women are solicited in broad daylight, and it’s not uncommon for a prostitiute and client to have sex up against people’s front doors or in their gardens.
Sgt Jason Cahill said: “I understand that the sex workers wouldn’t be doing this is if they weren’t desperate, but my job is to uphold the law and protect the residents who are affected by prostitution and all the associated crime that comes to the area as a result of it like drugs, drink-driving and burglary. It’s about striking a balance.”
Sgt Cahill is the dedicated officer for High Town, and the Luton News team spent an evening on patrol withhim to see first-hand what a night on Operation Turtle entails.
Within minutes of being on the road, Sgt Keyhill was called to Moorland Gardens where officers had detained a man and a sex worker.
The kerb-crawler was searched by officers who found he was carrying an offensive weapon; a hammer.
He claimed it was for ‘self-defence’ but you wonder whether weapons are ever used on the sex workers.
The prostitute was interviewed by female officers and both she and the man admitted they had gone behind the buildings to ‘do business’.
The man, who was in his early 50s, had £20 tucked in his shoe and claimed he had a girlfriend at home.
He will be charged with possesion of an offensive weapon and soliciting sex.
It was a relatively quiet night in High Town, but even so we saw a couple of sex workers roaming the streets.
Sgt Cahill said: “The weather doesn’t put them off. They are out in thick ice and snow, in minus 7 degrees.”
We spotted a known sex worker getting into white van and a high speed chase ensued – albiet one that only lasted 90 seconds. Before we reached the van, the prostitute had jumped out, but the man was told to pull over.
He was in his early 30s and said he had fallen out with his girlfriend which was why he had gone to pick up a prostitute. His van was searched and he was put in the back of a police car for an interview.
His sordid night out had gone severely downhill.
Sgt Cahill said: “I am quite relentless in my pursual of these people. If there is any evidence to support it then I will bring them in for a word. Kerb-crawlers should be warned, we will find them.”
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Luton
Thursday 23 May 2013
Temperature: 4 C to 10 C
Wind Speed: 18 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 4 C to 10 C
Wind Speed: 26 mph
Wind direction: North