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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 February 2007, 19:38 GMT
Kerb-crawler bill passed by MSPs
Generic picture of prostitution
Kerb-crawlers could face fines of up to 1,000
MSPs have approved new legislation which for the first time will allow the prosecution of kerb-crawlers.

The bill will give police the power to arrest men in cars or loitering with the intention of buying sex services.

Local authorities are to receive an extra 1m to help tackle street prostitution in other ways.

SNP MSP Fergus Ewing called for driving bans to be added to penalties. However, ministers said this area was reserved, and Westminster may consider them.

It will send an unequivocal message to those who purchase sex on our streets that their behaviour will no longer be tolerated
George Lyon
Executive Minister

The Prostitution (Public Places) (Scotland) Bill will see men who buy sex face prosecution and fines of up to 1,000.

During the final debate on the bill at Holyrood, Deputy Finance Minister George Lyon said it would provide Scotland with the toughest legislation on kerb-crawling in the UK.

"It will send an unequivocal message to those who purchase sex on our streets that their behaviour will no longer be tolerated," he said.

"We believe that it will act as a deterrent to those who seek to do so."

Confiscation powers

Mr Ewing lost his bid to amend the bill so that kerb-crawlers could lose their licences and have their cars seized.

He said: "If a burglar's tools can be confiscated because they assist him in committing crime, so I would argue for persistent offenders."

Liberal Democrat backbencher Mike Rumbles said a potential 1,000 fine would act as a sufficient deterrent on its own.

Independent MSP Margo MacDonald, who had efforts to legislate for formal prostitution tolerance zones rejected in 2003, said Mr Ewing's amendment would risk driving prostitution underground and therefore putting vulnerable women at further risk.

Mrs MacDonald also called for the bill to be "quietly voted down", arguing that it had changed radically since it was first introduced to Holyrood.

But MSPs voted in favour of the bill by 103 votes to four with eight abstentions.


SEE ALSO
Backing for kerb-crawlers penalty
06 Feb 07 |  Scotland
Restrictions on buying sex backed
17 Jan 07 |  Scotland
Prostitution law action pledged
09 Jan 07 |  Scotland
Police warning over new sex law
31 Oct 06 |  Scotland
Bill cracks down on kerb crawlers
18 Sep 06 |  Scotland
MSP scraps her prostitution bill
29 Nov 05 |  Scotland

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