RESIDENTS, councillors and police expressed the need for a new strategy to deal with sex workers in Grangetown.
Prostitution along the Taf Embankment was one of the issues brought up by residents at the latest Grangetown PACT meeting this week.
The current strategy is a five stage plan, where prostitutes are given a number of warnings before any arrest can be made.
This system is designed more to help women off of the streets rather than criminalising them by engaging them with support groups such as Street Life.
As it currently stands, each time the police catch a woman soliciting they are given a warning and if they are caught again within three months they are moved on to the next stage in the five step process.
No police action will be taken under the current measures until the sex worker has reached the latter stages.
But if the girl is not found again within that period they go back to the first stage in the program.
Grangetown Councillor Lynda Thorne said: “That five stage strategy is ineffective as it can lead to a year or 18 months before an arrest. It is not working.
“Three years of this strategy and not one arrest has been made, because the girls keep slipping out of the system.”
Cllr Thorne had a meeting in June with the then Chief Superintendent of South Wales Police, Belinda Davies.
They spoke about the need for adapting the current strategy, “We agreed that it wasn’t working and they were going to go away and shorten the procedure it takes before an arrest.
But it was revealed at the latest Grangetown PACT meeting that the “old” policy was still being implemented.
“I was so disappointed that the same strategy was being used because we all agreed that this is too long a process and it is not resulting in any action at all,” said Cllr Thorne.
Cllr Thorne does admit that although she has been aware of this issue in Grangetown for 25 years, sex work is not as bad as it used to be.
She feels that this subject highlights other problems in Grangetown such as parking and vandalism.
“The issue really is about the residents and the fact that people do work different hours and therefore when they are coming home and can’t park near their home people have been approached by women.
“People just don’t feel comfortable. Going to your home and being approached by punters. Then the other issue is needles and condoms in the streets.”
One Dinas Street resident believes the women need help. They added: “My personal opinion is that it should be legalised completely. People need to make a living, I don’t think attacking them is going to solve anything.
“I think it is symptomatic of the fact that our government is cutting everything and people are living in poverty,
“These women probably have children to feed and you do it to make money your easiest way.”
Cllr Thorne has arranged meetings with the new Chief Superintendent to talk about new strategies regarding sex workers and homelessness.