Round about now seventeen men should be up at South West Magistrates court for kerb-crawling (and other offences).
They were all arrested as part of an operation, jointly funded by Wandsworth Council, undertaken last month on Bedford Hill. I was invited along on one of the nights to see it in action.
The plan was fairly simple, female police officers would linger on Bedford Hill, wearing microphones. If anyone approached them for sex the evidence would be recorded and waiting officers would pounce to stop the kerb-crawler and arrest them. Many were also arrested for other offences, including one who was carrying a large knife when stopped.
It was a real demonstration of effective team work (as well as joint funding): the Metropolitan Police’s vice unit were running the operation, but were supported by the local Safer Neighbourhood Team and, once an arrest was made, the council’s Parks Police provided the transport to take the offender to the police station.
While I’m sensible enough to know that prostitution will never go away, I am also aware that we should ensure it doesn’t impact on other people’s lives in the way it does on Bedford Hill – causing local residents to feel unsafe and resulting in innocent women being propositioned by kerb-crawlers.