Monday, March 09, 2009

Operation Pinehurst tackling prostitution in Sheil Road area of Kensington and Fairfield

I saw this headline Cops: We'll name and shame vice girl's clients in an article in the Echo tonight, I thought to myself what a great idea, to name and shame kerb crawlers who are buying prostitutes, I thought wouldn't that be great if we were doing it on Sheil Road in Kensington where the problem is starting to creep back after a massive effort a couple of years ago to put a stop to it.

I thought to myself, wouldn't it be great if we could do that as part of Operation Pinehurst - the new police operation that we are funding from our councillors' working neighbourhood fund, in response to residents concerns raised at a recent Your Community Matters event.

Then I read the article, and realised that it was actually referring to Operation Pinehurst, to our operation, and that the police have not just taken on the important work of stopping prostition in our area, but they have also taken on our concerns that the girls should not be victimised, but that it is the punters who should be tackled.

The community are all very keen that prostitution in our area should be stopped, but they also understand that most of the working girls are young, are drug addicts and are the victims here. That is why we have put a lot of emphasis on involving organisations like Armistead who work with these girls to support them out of prostitution, at the centre of Operation Pinehurst. The community also made it clear to the police, through their councillors, that they wanted the punters to be very clear about what they were risking if they carried on coming into our area to buy women.

But I had not appreciated just how powerful their message was, and how seriously the police were taking that aspect of it, until I read this story today. When I gave my quote and explained the background to the Operation, to the Echo, I had not fully appreciated just how on board the police are with the community wishes.

To be honest, I feel very proud tonight, proud that Your Community Matters has really worked, putting resources into a key priority of residents, and proud that the police have really listened and have understood, and proud that residents, councillors and partners in the area are working so closely and so well together that we can something so important, so right.

This is just how community politics is supposed to work!

No comments: