On the 22nd of September 2011 Cambridge’s North Area committee discussed prostitution on Histon Road in Cambridge. Sgt. Wragg of Cambridgeshire Police said the problem was small, involving only a handful of girls, but was exaggerated by sensationalist reporting in the local press. He said this reporting was having the effect of advertising the prostitutes and attracting people to the area from surrounding towns including Newmarket.
Cllr Neil McGovern said that Chris Havergal of the Cambridge News, who was present, was a responsible reporter. Cllr Paul Sales of Arbury huffed and puffed under his breath in disagreement.
The committee was told that the problem had moved, away from the shops, further out of the city towards the squash club and Belmore close.
North Cambridge councillors decided not to prioritise dealing with the prostitution directly; but to focus on the hostel at 222 Victoria Road which was identified as being the root cause of much of the criminality in the area. They were told that the West Central area committee had prioritised the prostitution issue, but were not told about the direction that committee, prompted by Cllr Brooks-Gordon had given; they had requested no “heavy handed” action, and no action against the women who they considered victims. (Cllr Hipkin had taken a different view, and called for arrests and for residents concerns to be listened to).
The police reported that one individual had already been evicted from 222 Victoria Road for breaching their tenancy conditions; and that ASBOs may be pursued against others.
On the 13th of October at 19.00 in the Bermuda Community Rooms a meeting between residents (all are welcome), the police and the management of 222 Victoria Road will take place. It was notable it was a member of the public who gave the details of this meeting, councillors were unaware of it. Sgt. Wragg said that while the police helped promote it sometimes it was a meeting “owned” by the 222 management. Cllr Todd-Jones suggested that the police ought do more, and that the meetings ought be more open.
Sgt. Wragg said 222 Victoria Road had new management who were having difficulty getting to grips with their role. He said the appearance of the property is due for a “makeover” and there are plans to reduce the number of individuals living there and to use the space to provide more intensive “programmes” for fewer residents.