Kerb-crawling law to be strengthened

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Indy Politics
PLANS TO make it easier for men to be convicted of kerb-crawling for prostitutes were revealed last night by Michael Jack, the Home Office minister.

The planned tightening of the law signals the end of the rule of practice that police must observe a man stopping his car at least twice to seek the services of a prostitute before a prosecution can realistically be launched.

Mr Jack said in a written Commons answer: 'When a suitable legislative opportunity occurs, we will amend the law on kerb-crawling in section 1 of the Sexual Offences Act 1985 to remove the need to prove persistence, annoyance or nuisance before a man can be convicted of the offence.'

Martin Redmond, Labour MP for Don Valley, had asked what new initiatives the Home Office was considering to tackle prostitution in residential districts.

The Home Office emphasised that the offence would still have to prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt under the Act, which penalised solicitation by men of women for the first time. But the removal of the need for more than one sighting should ease the difficulties of surveillance faced by police in city areas.

The last Commons attempt to act against kerb-crawlers ended in acrimonious failure in 1990 when a Private Member's Bill was talked out.