Plain-clothed police officer was asked 'how much?' during crackdown on Norwich kerb crawling
PUBLISHED: 14:20 25 May 2019 | UPDATED: 14:22 25 May 2019
A crackdown on kerb crawling and prostitution in Norwich has continued, with plain-clothed police officers helping to catch offenders.
Friday night saw a team of Norfolk police officers out on patrol in the Rosary Road area of Norwich, with tackling prostitution recently made a priority by the Norwich East Safer Neighbourhood Team.
A number of evening patrols have been organised to help deal with the issue, with kerb crawlers being targeted.
Signs have been placed around the area stating that plain-clothed police officers were operating in the area - but Sgt Mark Shepherd, who was involved in Friday night's patrols around Rosary Road, said people had not heeded the warning.
He said a group of men had approached his plain-clothed officer to ask 'How much?' and one woman had complained that business was being affected by 'the Old Bill' being out in force.
He said drivers suspected of kerb crawling who had been stopped by police had been claiming "I like driving the area".
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Sgt Shepherd said: "You will be stopped, you will be challenged. Your behaviour impacts on the community.
"We will tackle anti-social behaviour and challenge those who have a detrimental impact on the area."
Police had warned kerb crawlers they risked arrest, while drivers spotted repeatedly driving around roads ran the risk of having warning letters sent to their homes.
Sgt Shepherd said, following Friday night's police action, there would be five such letters being sent to people.
He added: "This was one of a number of operations we are going to be doing. The message is that, if you are repeatedly driving in these areas and you don't have a good reason to be there, you are going to get caught.
"This was set as a priority by the safer neigbourhood team because it is detrimental to the area." Sgt Shepherd said the focus was on the kerb crawlers, but officers were also taking action to prevent prostitution, with the women involved often struggling with addictions.
He said the approach was to encourage them to seek help through support organisations such as the Magdalene Group, but that there was also a system of warnings, which could culminate in arrest.