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Last Updated: Monday, 15 October 2007, 09:53 GMT 10:53 UK
City's prostitution zone scrapped
Generic young prostitute
The zone was designed to protect prostitutes from violence
A controversial prostitution tolerance zone in Aberdeen has been scrapped because it is not compatible with tough new kerb-crawling laws.

The zone, which was based around the city's harbour, saw police turn a blind eye to prostitutes and their clients.

However, Grampian Police said that from Monday anyone soliciting prostitutes in the area would face arrest.

Supporters of the Street Prostitute Management Zone have called for an alternative scheme to be put in place.

About 130 prostitutes had been using the zone since it was introduced in July 2001.

Although police carried out regular patrols in the area, they were focused on protecting prostitutes from violence.

'Legally sustainable'

A Grampian Police spokesman said the decision to scrap the zone followed discussions with the procurator fiscal and other agencies after the introduction of the Prostitution (Public Places) (Scotland) Act 2007.

The new law will criminalise anyone caught soliciting prostitutes in any public place. In the past, it was the prostitutes alone who risked prosecution.

A police spokesman said: "In light of the new legislation, it was decided the tolerance zone was not legally sustainable and had run its course.

"As of today, officers from Grampian Police will continue to patrol the area and stop any vehicle or individuals they consider to be there for the purposes of obtaining the services of a prostitute."

In some respects it [the zone] was a refuge where violent or dangerous people would tend to avoid, so it has been a success
Councillor Martin Greig
Aberdeen City Council

The spokesman said personal details of those found in such circumstances may be noted and they will be educated on the new legislation. Individuals may also be reported to the fiscal.

The force's street liaison officer will continue to work in the harbour area and offer advice to prostitutes and support groups.

The police said it was "difficult to gauge" how much of a deterrent the new legislation would have on those who purchase sex, but did not believe the challenges involved in enforcing the new offence were "insurmountable."

But Councillor Martin Greig said the zone had reduced the amount of street prostitution elsewhere in the city, and called for police, health workers and drug charities to get round the table to come up with a replacement.

He said: "It has been beneficial to the sex workers themselves to know there is an area where they are fairly safe and in some respects it was a refuge where violent or dangerous people would tend to avoid, so it has been a success."



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SEE ALSO
Kerb-crawler law comes into force
14 Oct 07 |  Scotland
Kerb-crawler bill passed by MSPs
28 Feb 07 |  Scotland
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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