Police tackling prostitution say they are dedicated to preventing sex workers from being driven underground while also supporting the community.
As The Gazette yesterday reported, traders working in the midst of the resort’s sex industry around Central Drive and Palatine Road told The Gazette their lives were being disrupted by the actions of working girls as they run their businesses.
One businessman claimed he is regularly propositioned with sex, while another had to endure a woman inviting herself into his car as he pulled over in a car park.
But Chief Insp Laura Lawler says police officers and support agencies work with Blackpool Council to crackdown on the issue of prostitution in the resort.
She said: “We do a lot of work with outreach groups and go to PACT meetings to set prostitution as an agenda, but it’s just one or two people we are talking about – we don’t have a street workers problem in Blackpool.
“We are on the streets every night and it’s important we get it right for their daily lives.
“It’s about keeping people safe but we try and balance what the community needs with the risk element and give the prostitutes support, rather than driving them underground.”
Specialist officers in central Blackpool work with the council and Renaissance – a support group helping women to get out of the sex industry.
Chief Insp Lawler is urging people experiencing problems to come forward.
She added: “Prostitution has been a PACT priority on Central Drive for a number of weeks, but the amount of girls on Central Drive hasn’t gone up.
“We have a couple of girls who have very chaotic lives and we are doing our best to manage them.
“We want more members of the community to tell us about their issues because these concerns (from the traders) haven’t been raised with us.”
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