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BTEC Level 3 National Public Services

Unit 12 Crime and its effects on society


Tackling antisocial behaviour

Case study Prostitution in a residential area

Prostitution has affected a residential area of one of Englands large cities for a number of years. On a daily basis, residents have suffered verbal and physical abuse from prostitutes and kerb crawlers alike. Driveways and gardens have been used as toilets and used by prostitutes to have sex with their clients. Condoms, tissues and used syringes have been discarded where they were used. There has also been a related influx of drug-related crime into the area. Between January 1999 and March 2000 over 1,200 prostitute-related incidents in this area required a police response. In response, the community set up a street-watch scheme to deter the prostitutes and their clients. The local authority invested in road closures, improved street lighting and put in place traffic-calming measures. The police continued to prosecute offenders as well as provide drug referral schemes and a voluntary referral scheme to help divert women away from prostitution in conjunction with the Safe Sex Partnership. However, these efforts did little to curb the prostitution, and actually displaced the problem to a larger geographical area. Arresting the prostitutes often led the offender back to the streets to pay the resulting fine. Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) were used to tackle the behaviour, arguing that prostitution causes harassment, alarm and distress to the community; traditional methods of combating the problem have failed; and the individuals considered were prolific offenders and significantly contributed to the problem. Two individuals were initially targeted: the first had 165 convictions for prostitution-related offences, the second 35. Neither lived in the area; the sole reason for their presence was for the purposes of prostitution. Successful ASBOs were brought against each of these individuals, excluding them from the area and prohibiting loitering for the purpose of prostitution in the entire local authority area. From that time, neither has been seen in the area again, although one has breached their order by soliciting in another part of the city, resulting in a threemonth custodial sentence. In total, 19 orders have now been made to tackle this problem, with others in preparation. Local residents have contacted the police to report significant improvements in the situation.

Working in pairs
1. 2. Think about the ASBO approach to this issue. Is it a good idea? Why was it more successful than the first strategy? What other strategies could have been employed to deal with this issue?

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