Another normal night in Wapping as sex workers stand and chat on the pavements of Green Bank, Wapping High Street and Tench Street while waiting to be transported to their next assignment.
Residents continue to react with a mixture of disbelief and shock when they realise just what is going on in the heart of E1W outside St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church from first thing in the evening until the early hours.
Eye witnesses report that the first vehicle is usually seen parked up in broad daylight in Green Bank between five and six pm.
Over the next few hours more vehicles turn up and park mainly in Green Bank with overflow in Wapping High Street and some in Tench Street. The group’s minders sometimes stand on the junction with Green Bank and Dundee Street and chat.
The number of vehicles ranges between two and seven. Some have Romanian registration plates, some UK plates.
Prostitution is legal in UK
According to Wikipedia “In Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland), prostitution itself (the exchange of sexual services for money) is legal, but a number of related activities, including soliciting in a public place, kerb crawling, owning or managing a brothel, pimping and pandering, are crimes.”
The MPS attitude seems to be that the prostitution in Green Bank is that as it is not Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) then it will be tolerated. Tower Hamlets MPS also seems to be blind to the clear evidence that this is a group of people involved in organised prostitution, not one individual working alone.
If proven then this would mean that those in charge of the operation could be guilty of pimping.
But then as borough residents know the MPS does not have a good reputation for tackling the trickier allegations of criminality in the borough.
It could be reasonably argued that the inaction by the MPS or Tower Hamlets Council to deal with the current organised prostitution in Wapping conveys a symptomatic failings of authorities to join the dots between more widespread issues, such as the flaws in the MPS 101 phone system and the inadequacies of the Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) concept.
The lack of interest in activities such as organised prostitution that have a corrosive impact on our community will, if it continues, come back to haunt us.
Other MPS Tower Hamlets teams such as the Gangs Unit do an amazing job. Only this week the Gangs Unit took a Kalashnikov AK-47 assault rifle and ammunition off the streets as well as two hand guns.
That is great police work but it is being undermined by a failure to confront other issues.