Joint operation leads to closure of two brothels in Redbridge

Published: 21 October 2019

Council and police officers joined forces last week to raid suspected brothels as part of their continuing crackdown on prostitution in the borough.

From 3pm on Wednesday (16 October) more than 30 officers from the two organisations descended on several properties, discovering two brothels at locations in south Ilford.

The intelligence-led operation, codenamed Magpie, included council enforcement officers and police officers from the Response Task Force, CID, Safer Neighbourhood Teams and the Human Tracking Unit.

A number of women were taken away to safety following the raids and are being offered support to exit their involvement in prostitution.

The seven-hour operation comes off the back of a raft measures already in place to tackle prostitution and community concerns. 

The last few months have seen an increased police and council enforcement presence on Ilford Lane to combat crime and support the ground-breaking Public Space Protection Order (PSPO), which bans attempts to buy sexual services from another person in a public place.

It also enables enforcement officers and police to issue on-the-spot fines to those caught breaching the order.

These joint enforcement, high-visibility patrols, coupled with CCTV and ANPR enforcement, and intelligence gathering have already reduced street prostitution in the area.

The council was also recently awarded more than £460,000 to help efforts to tackle street prostitution in the borough.

The government cash will be spent on developing and implementing long-term solutions, including supporting women to exit involvement in prostitution.

These solutions include working closely with the local community and deliver hard-hitting campaigns to discourage local perpetrators and those from further afield.

The funds will also be put towards implementing the environmental improvements recommended by specialist crime reduction advisors to reduce the likelihood of prostitution. 

Council Leader Cllr Jas Athwal said: “I’d like to congratulate the police and council officers on the success of this joint operation.

“As a council, we’re already doing a huge amount to tackle prostitution in the borough.

“But this is a long-term problem and one which requires us to work in close partnership with the police, and I am looking forward to continuing our work together.

“Our priority is to engage and support women to exit prostitution, whilst sending a strong message to the criminals behind this activity that we will disrupt them at all levels, not just on the streets at night.”

Inspector Barrie Beyler from the Metropolitan Police Response Taskforce said: “This operation was a successful example of numerous agencies coming together working within a multi-agency approach to protect vulnerable women who appeared to be exploited for financial gain.

“The purpose of the operation was to safeguard these individuals whilst offering ongoing support to deter such future illicit activities.

“Redbridge residents should be reassured that we will tackle any form of anti-social behaviour and that together with our council partners close such premises.”

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