Evening Standard: Met ‘is too severe in shutting brothels’
The Met should turn a blind eye to prostitutes working in brothels, according to a Conservative member of the London Assembly.
Andrew Boff claimed today that police were being too “severe” in shutting small-scale brothels ahead of the Olympics, forcing women on to the street and putting them in danger.
Mr Boff also called for brothels to be decriminalised and licensed by councils, saying it could “empower” sex workers by allowing them to operate as businesses. But his proposals sparked concerns of red light districts in every area, with Tory MP Priti Patel warning it could “open the floodgates”.
Mr Boff told the Standard there was a feeling among prostitutes that a “degree of persecution is going on” before next year’s Games as police target human trafficking.
Urging the Met to be less heavy-handed, the former Mayoral hopeful said that licensed brothels would provide a safer environment, take power away from pimps and make it easier to carry out health checks.
A spokeswoman for the English Collective of Prostitutes said it was “fantastic” that Mr Boff was urging police to take a more lenient approach but said sex workers wanted the industry decriminalised.
Detective Chief Superintendent Richard Martin, head of the Met’s human exploitation and organised crime unit, said the force targeted parts of the vice trade where women have been trafficked or are being held against their will.