Sex worker problem drags on

The problem of sex workers in a St Albans neighbourhood may not be solved for some time.

Residents, police and city council staff met last month to discuss what can be done to move prostitutes off the residential end of Manchester St to a more appropriate spot away from homes.

A security camera was installed by the city council in July on the corner of Purchas and Manchester Sts to deter customers and document antisocial behaviour.

FAILURE: A city council installed camera has failed to deter sex workers in a residential area as more often than not they stand under the camera while working.

However, residents say it has failed, as more often than not there is a sex worker on every corner under the camera’s watch.

City council head of strategic policy Helen Beaumont said it will consider what amendments can be made to the Public Places Bylaw – including the possibility of controlling street-based sex workers.

A review is scheduled for next year.

She said amendments had been considered in the past.

“The concern here is around establishing a legally valid bylaw clause that would withstand appeal and enable effective enforcement,” she said.

Resident Matt Bonis said it was time the police and city council acknowledged the problem and started to do something about it.

“We [the residents] have been terrified about the situation for more than five years, but that is now starting to lift with this progress,” he said.

Solicitor and Labour candidate for Christchurch Central Duncan Webb was hired by Mr Bonis to represent the residents.

“He has helped us cut through some of the red tape and get our point across,” Mr Bonis said.

Papanui-Innes Community Board chairwoman Ali Jones has been working with the city council and residents for a number of years to find a solution to the issue and said it was fantastic news to hear there could be progress.

“The big question now is why it has taken so long to come to this solution. That is what I will be asking,” she said.

FAILURE: A city council installed camera has failed to deter sex workers in a residential area as more often than not they stand under the camera while working.

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