Thu, 4 May, 2017
In a new scheme started by the South Wales Police that allows prostitutes to start a new life without having to become entangle in the criminal justice system has been deemed successful. Under the new Operation Gray Neptune, the police officers are concentrating on areas of Cardiff Bay, Splott and Grangetown that have been receiving many complaints about prostitution activities from their residents. The scheme was launched in January and has helped and offered support to 13 women to leave the industry. Even though the program is currently not active, it has been a success, and there may be chances of starting the scheme again in the future if needed.
The scheme is aimed at breaking the cycle of abuse which more often than not starts from drug addiction, family problems, and chemical dependency. The scheme offers housing services, health services, and rehabilitation services to those women willing to break away from the prostitution industry. The officers used to walk the streets encouraging the women to leave the industry and go straight. During this time, they also caught three individuals looking to buy sex. Over a period of one year starting from April 2016, the police have received 131 complaints from residents of the Pentre Gardens, East Tyndall Street and Ocean Way about prostitution and anti-social behaviour in the area.
The Partnership Development Manager of the Cardiff Partnership Board, Nici Evans said that the scheme was designed to help women who many times start working as a prostitute due to some problems. It also helps them stay away from the criminal justice system that many times stops them from seeking help. She added that these women are provided the necessary support and management to remain off the street and start a new life. This helps in the reduction of harm and keeps the women and the residents of these places safe. Since the scheme, the women were not required to pass through the criminal justice system, they were more open to accepting the support which was the main idea behind the scheme.
According to Police Constable Alex Bourner, who has been part of the scheme from the start, this operation has been a success and accepted that it was important to provide support to the sex workers to break the cycle. They are able to monitor these individuals better and move them through a process that they are engaged with. He agreed that prostitution is not only a risk for those practicing in it but also for those people who live in the area where such activities go on. This reduces the quality of life for people residing in the area. Many people move to other places, while those who cannot afford to move complain to the police for some action to be taken against them. This is the reason why the officers started the scheme so that everyone involved can benefit from it, the prostitutes and the residents of these area affected by it.