Action against kerb-crawlers
Kerb-crawlers arrested or cautioned by police in Luton numbered just 14 in three years, despite residents complaining they see the men every day.
A Freedom of Information request by the Luton News revealed that of the 14 recorded kerb-crawling incidents in 2010-12, only six of these resulted in arrests.
In High Town where kerb-crawlers make residents’ lives “a nightmare”, Operation Turtle was launched in 2010 to target the problem, which police say was successful.
A Beds Police spokesperson said: “Each person caught kerb-crawling was given a warning, and letters sent to their home addresses giving advice. This action meant that only a few progressed to the arrest and caution stage as shown in the figures.”
As reported by the Luton News, problems relating to prostitution and anti-social behaviour in High Town reduce when police target the area with campaigns like Operation Turtle, but return when police presence wanes.
A police spokesperson said: “Over recent months the local community have informed us in residents’ meetings that the problem has again increased.”
There are reductions in policing budgets, but police say this remains an important issue, and have funded a dedicated High Town police sergeant to tackle the problem.
During an Operation Turtle crackdown from January 7-10 this year, 11 people were arrested – nine for kerb-crawling, one for possession of a class A drug, and one in connection with an outstanding warrant. There were also 34 stop and searches recorded.
A resident who does not wish to be named said: “The police action has been sporadic, but now it feels like they are taking things seriously. If 11 people were arrested then let’s crack the champange open, that is fantastic and I’m so pleased they are listening to us now.”
Operation Turtle events will continue for the foreseeable future as Beds Police continue to work with partner agencies to tackle the overall problem and find long term solutions.
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Friday 24 May 2013
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