Dedicated team of officers assist street sex workers in Normanton to turn their lives around
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Officers from Normanton’s Safer Neighbourhood Team are volunteering their own time to help street sex workers turn their lives around.
The safeguarding team has been introduced in response to the changes in national guidance and the knowledge of the officers who got to know the sex workers and their issues and realised the priority was to provide support to them and break the cycle of sex work.
Officers involved in the team can offer advice and practical support and refer them to partner organisations who can help with issues like addiction to drink and drugs, housing problems, and health concerns.
PC Steve Revill is from Normanton Safer Neighbourhood Team, he said: “The sex workers on the streets of Normanton are often doing it because they have other problems in their lives. This can include an addiction to drink or drugs with the sex work funding their habits.
“We have taken the decision to help them break the cycle by offering advice and pointing them to our partners within the community who can help them get off the streets and improve their lives, instead of criminalising these women.”
In addition to helping the sex workers, who also run the risk of being exploited by so called ‘pimps’, the officers who form the safeguarding team are also working with them to try and bring down the numbers of crime committed either by the women themselves or by people associated with them.
“We know that the women on the streets can also be the victims of other types of crime so our dedicated safeguarding team, which is made up of officers who have volunteered their time outside of their normal working hours, identify these women and assist them, as much as possible, in getting out of the life they are currently leading.”
While the team are looking out for the welfare of the women who work the streets of Normanton, they are also identifying the men who come to the area to pay for sex.
PC Revill continued: “I want to make it perfectly clear, while we are offering to help the women we see on the streets of Normanton, the men who come here looking to pay for sex will be dealt with in accordance with the law. This could include arrest and court appearances. We have a zero-tolerance approach to individuals who have come into our community for this reason. They prey on the vulnerable and our action is robust. Police record data about such individuals on a database and repeat offenders face the risk of being named and shamed. We will continue to target this activity to make our streets as safe as possible.”