Problems associated with street prostitution in Holbeck continue, but agencies including the Police and Cleansing have increased their activity and there is improved dialogue between residents and agencies.
Since we reported on the public meeting on 3 October, a Reference Group has been established to enable dialogue between Holbeck residents and agencies in the area.
The ‘Managed Approach’ tolerates some sex work in industrial parts of Holbeck between certain hours in an attempt to keep the long running problem away from residential streets.
The Council and the Police came under fire from residents at the October meeting who said the approach simply wasn’t working.
The Reference group involves members of the Facebook Group ‘Save Our Eyes’, St Luke’s Church, St Luke’s Primary School, the Holbeck Neighbourhood Plan group, Unity Housing Association, Police Officers and Councillors.
Since October both the Police and Cleansing have set up dedicated teams to work both in the managed area itself and in surrounding hot spots.
A weekly bulletin is being circulated with information about what actions each agency has taken including removing used condoms, needles and other drug paraphernalia; enforcement action taken against women breaching the terms of the managed area and arrests for charges including soliciting and rape.
Three monitored CCTV cameras have been installed in the managed area and are now operational. It is hoped these will give confidence both to the sex workers and to staff of businesses in the area.
A spokesperson for Safer Leeds said:
“It is really important that the community continue to report any incidences to the dedicated mobile phone number – 07534 309568 – as all intelligence is acted upon and can often help the police build up a clearer picture of unlawful activity within the area.”
Leeds City Council have organised a follow up residents meeting in Holbeck to provide feedback on the work which has taken place since the 3rd October public meeting.
The meeting will take place on Tuesday 16 January at St Matthew Community Centre at 7.30pm. As agreed in October, senior Councillors, senior council officers and senior Police Officers will be present.