Prostitution complaints in Barking force police to introduce dispersal zone


- Credit: Archant

Complaints about prostitution in Barking have led police and the council to introduce a dispersal zone, giving officers greater powers in tackling ani-social behaviour (ASB).

The dispersal zone in Barking.

The dispersal zone in Barking. - Credit: Archant

Under a new order, officers will be able to break up groups of two or more people causing ASB and ban them returning to the zone for 24 hours.

Anyone persisting can be arrested and, if found guilty of going against a direction under a dispersal order, can face up to three months imprisonment or a fine of up to £2,500.

The move comes after numerous residents complained of being accosted by groups of prostitutes offering their services and engaging in sexual activity in the street throughout the night and early hours.

Sgt Richard Morgan of Barking and Dagenham Police urged residents to continue reporting any anti-social activity taking place by dialing 101.

He said: “It is our aim that every resident, business or visitor to Barking and Dagenham enjoys the right to live and work in peace without being harassed, alarmed or distressed.

“We understand the misery that can be caused to local residents through prostitution and this order forms part of the partnership strategy undertaken to prevent inconvenience to the community and to provide exit strategies for those involved in prostitution.”

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The order came into place on May 1 and will run until the end of October this year.

Leaflets will be distributed to residents and local businesses in the area and a map of the dispersal zone will be displayed in the area to encourage victims and witnesses to report anti-social behaviour.

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