New laws target kerb crawlers

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The Independent Online
NEW laws to clamp-down on kerb crawlers and hit-and-run motorists are to be introduced by the Government.

Jack Straw, the Home Secretary, plans to give extra powers to the police to arrest drivers at the scene of an accident and to stop men cruising for sex.

The moves follows growing concerns about the number of motorists, including "joy riders", who drive away from accident scenes, or give false names and address, and the apparent inability of the police to prevent kerb crawlers operating.

Under the proposals kerb crawling would become an arrestable offence so that offenders could be taken back to a police station and charged. At present they can only be posted a summons to appear in court. In most incidents they receive a warning or small fine.

Police forces have been using a variety of tactics such as "naming and shaming" offenders by sending them warnings and by videoing the activities of men seeking sex from their cars.

The All Party Group on Prostitution, an inquiry set up by MPs, recommended in 1996 introducing a power of arrest for kerb crawling. Resident groups in Balsall Heath, Birmingham, parts of Bradford, and areas of London, such as Streatham, have long complained about the harassment of kerb-crawlers seeking sex.