Police vice sting nets 11 kerb crawlers

ELEVEN kerb crawlers were caught out by undercover officers posing as prostitutes in a two-day police sting this week. On Tuesday and Wednesday nights, 15 officers took to the streets around Sussex Gardens to crack down on kerb crawling in the most notori

ELEVEN kerb crawlers were caught out by undercover officers posing as prostitutes in a two-day police sting this week.

On Tuesday and Wednesday nights, 15 officers took to the streets around Sussex Gardens to crack down on kerb crawling in the most notorious vice area of London.

Hyde Park Safer Neighbourhood Team launched Operation Bulbinius in response to the concerns of residents living in Paddington.

Sgt Stuart Deveson, who heads up the Hyde Park SNT, said: "This is a long standing problem for local residents. It has been a massive issue here for around 40 years - if not longer.


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"People in the community ask for this. They are very keen on kerb crawling operations - and we have an informed community who know it is the kerb crawlers who we need to target because sometimes the women on the street are victims themselves of drugs or abuse. We try and get them into drug projects and schemes.

"We also want to let the offenders know not to come back here because they will get arrested."

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The operation consists of two decoy prostitutes wearing secret recording devices who take turns to stand on the street corner.

They must not do anything to attract anyone so they just wait for men to ask for sex for money or a sexual service.

A marked police car and four unmarked cars lay in wait for the signal that someone has committed an offence. Two officers are also on hand to make sure the women are alright.

Once the signal has been given the marked car pulls the offender over and officers from an unmarked car arrest him and take him back to the police station where a team of custody officers process the arrest.

Sgt Deveson said: "The only penalty you can get is a fine or points or loss of driving licence and we are going to try to press for a ban from driving because a lot of them are wealthy and a fine will not really hurt them.

"We are trying to say to the kerb crawlers 'do not come back here'. If they do not, then the girls will not come out either and it will be easier getting them into projects."

The operation lasted three days and police expected to arrest another five last night. Two years ago a similar operation yielded 29 arrests - which police say goes to show the impact they have had.

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