The review into the operation of the Managed Approach to street sex work in Holbeck is due to be published in June.
South Leeds Life understands that the researchers at the University of Huddersfield are confident that they will be able to publish their report on schedule, despite the Coronavirus pandemic.
Coronavirus has affected life on the streets of Holbeck however. Safer Leeds announced changes to operations in the area in March as West Yorkshire Police began enforcing lockdown measures and ‘social distancing’ across the county.
In a statement, Safer Leeds clarified:
“The Managed Approach is a continuing Safer Leeds coordinated partnership response to dealing with issues associated with on street sex working. Changes were made to the implementation of the Managed Approach in March to reflect both the social distancing guidance and support emergency legislation designed to keep people safe from Coronavirus. The Managed Approach was not suspended and the dedicated police team have not been reduced or withdrawn. They continue to work with all pre-existing partner resources to support on street sex workers and the wider local community.
“The police team are currently deployed engaging anyone who is not adhering to the guidance and in breach of the emergency legislation, reminding them of their personal responsibility and encourage people where appropriate to return home in line with the wider Covid-19 national policing strategy of – Engaging, Explaining , Encouraging and, as a last resort, Enforcing the emergency legislation (The 4 E strategy).
“In addition, the team has continued to investigate any identified offences and respond proportionately. Where necessary, positive enforcement action has been taken which has extended to a range of interventions including arrest, issuing of fixed penalty notices and other criminal justice outcomes as appropriate in the circumstances.”
Councillor Debra Coupar, Leeds City Council’s executive member with responsibility for Safer Leeds, commented:
“The government has set out steps that everybody must take to tackle the spread of coronavirus. From a Managed Approach standpoint, we are continuing to utilise every power at our disposal to make sure that these measures are properly adhered to with regarding to street based sex work. Just as importantly, we are also ensuring that the variety of meaningful support which has been put in place through the initiative to protect the health and welfare of all sex workers continues. This, and our ongoing commitment to support local residents through the deployment of different services in the community remain key priorities.
“Any further announcements which are made regarding strategic or operational changes to the Managed Approach will be made as appropriate and guided by government guidance regarding coronavirus.
“In terms of the Independent review, the findings of the report are still expected in the summer as per the original timescales. We gave a firm undertaking to local residents and businesses, along with all stakeholders, that such a review would take place and this is a promise that we remain fully committed to providing in full. With that in mind, I believe it is vitally important that both the findings and recommendations of the Independent Review are taken fully into account and considered as part of any future decisions that are made regarding the Managed Approach scheme.”
Photo taken in 2018