I’m delighted that by working together, the Police, councillors, local agencies and the local community have agreed a fresh approach to tackling criminal and anti-social behaviour associated with sex work in Kensington.
I recently met with Merseyside Police and others to raise the ongoing concerns of constituents and agree a new approach that will see strengthened police activity with additional officers being deployed to the area at key times.
Liverpool City Council will also increase resources dedicated to tackling the problem of litter, including condoms, which have caused concerns for constituents and will make an immediate visual improvement in the environment.
The partners agreed that there needed to be an emphasis on targeting men who cause a risk to women and who look for the services of street sex workers. A phased approach will provide warnings to women sex workers which will seek to ensure that they are aware of and encouraged to engage with agencies that can offer help and support.
A dedicated detective has been introduced to deal with those involved in street sex work to ensure crimes against them are reported and dealt with as a hate crime.
The police rightly point out that Merseyside is the only place in the country to take this approach to dealing with this type of crime and encouraging those who are victims to come forward.
I know from the constituents who have contacted me and from working closely with local community groups and councillors that residents have been faced with significant problems brought about by men seeking out sex workers in their neighbourhood.
This is totally unacceptable and must be tackled in the long term. Police action has already seen a number of men arrested for offences including robbery and connected to purchasing sex.
Of course, the police by themselves cannot solve the problem. That is why it is vital to support community and voluntary sector groups who are working with women sex workers to ensure every possible avenue of support is available to those who are vulnerable and abused.
It is also essential to take action against wider criminal and anti-social behaviour in the area.
Police have recently targeted numerous addresses, made a number of arrests, seized more than £2 million worth of drugs and used powers to close three addresses in the area, as well as working with housing providers to secure the evictions of other problematic tenants.
Residents must be able to live safe and secure in their community and I am determined to work with everyone to make this happen.