YEP Says: Let’s ensure Leeds red light scheme is made to succeed


WE SHARE concerns over the managed prostitution zone in Holbeck in Leeds.

On the one hand we can see that this is a good idea to reduce the problems caused by existing street prostitution and reducing its prevalence - on the other hand it has to be enforced.

READ MORE: Extra police officers to patrol Leeds ‘legal red light district’ in Holbeck
The ‘managed approach’ should afford some protection to women sex workers and limit the area in which such activity takes place. But for many who live and work in the area it simply has not worked as it should.
Safer Leeds – a body which includes the council and West Yorkshire Police – introduced the scheme in October 2014.
It aims to better engage with street sex workers to improve their safety and health, with a view to enabling them to exit that way of life, which is welcomed. But complaints from residents have risen in recent years, prompting Leeds Central MP Hilary Benn to raise concerns - not least because they felt the managed zone was anything but “managed”.
We hope that the four extra officers now assigned to the scheme will make a difference.
It is claimed the extra staff will provide a faster response to calls made to a dedicated phone line, act on intelligence and use “proactive enforcement measures”.
We believe scrapping the scheme is not an option. But making it work better is imperative.