New campaign warns kerb-crawlers

Kerb-crawlers are being targeted by a new poster campaign to remind them they could be arrested and fined for using street prostitutes in Scotland. More than 40 men have been charged with soliciting for sex since the law changed towards the end of last year.

Historically, only selling sex was punishable by law.

An opinion poll commissioned for this latest campaign found that most people were aware that kerb crawling was now a crime.

More than a third of those surveyed said the threat of being “named and shamed” was the most effective deterrent, while 14% felt the potential £1,000 fine was the toughest penalty.

For 12% of those asked, it was being found out by friends and family that was the main disincentive.

To those who have previously bought sex or who are considering it, I say don’t
Kenny MacAskill
Justice Secretary
The Scottish Government wants to take the powers even further, and is working with Westminster to ensure that, in future, courts will have the power to disqualify offenders from driving.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill added that the government was working with agencies to help women out of prostitution.

However, he warned that all those trying to buy sex now faced the full force of the law.

He said: “To those who have previously bought sex or who are considering it, I say don’t.

“Don’t try to convince yourself that it does not harm the women involved – it does.

“Don’t try to convince yourself it does not harm the communities where women are harassed and families refuse to let their children play in the streets and parks.

Social costs

“And don’t fool yourself that your actions and their consequences will not harm the very things closest to you – your family, friendships and employment. It will.”

The awareness raising initiative involves enhanced police enforcement alongside an advertising campaign highlighting the social and legal costs of kerb crawling and prostitution.

Assistant Chief Constable, John Neilson, from the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (ACPOS), said: “Clearly street prostitution won’t be eradicated overnight but we’re very encouraged by the positive and immediate impact our efforts seem to be yielding across Scotland.

“Some 40 men have been charged with offences relating to loitering or soliciting within the first 12 weeks of enforcement.

“For anyone not yet convinced that our efforts will be sustained, I can assure them, there will be no safe haven.”

Jan Macleod, senior development officer for the Women’s Support Project, also welcomed the campaign.


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