SEXUAL exploitation will be targeted as part of new measures in the Pill area of Newport, despite it being dropped after a consultation.
Newport council has passed a public spaces protection order (PSPO) for Pill after a previous one expired in July.
PSPOs are aimed at preventing anti-social behaviour and can be enforced by police and council officers, with breaches of the order constituting a criminal offence, resulting in fines of up to £1,000.
The previous order contained three restrictions aimed at targeting street drinking, anti-social behaviour caused by groups and use of intoxicating substances.
A new order was proposed earlier this year, which aimed to tackle sexual exploitation, aggressive begging, spitting, littering, unsafe use of scooters and bikes and defecation and urinating in public.
However, after a public consultation, the sexual exploitation element was dropped after a request from Gwent Police. This was because they though it could be dealt with more effectively by laws already in place.
Ahead of the full council meeting this evening (June 29) a petition from local businesses and residents with around 60 signatures was submitted to Newport council asking for the sexual exploitation element to be reinstated,
In the meeting, the cabinet member responsible for PSPOs, Cllr Ray Truman, submitted an amendment to re-add the sexual exploitation amendment.
He said: “It’s necessary, it’s proportionate.
“The people of Pill have enough to put up with.”
Local ward member Cllr Tracy Holyoake said the issue had been more evident throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
She said: “It was evident just how many street workers we had within our community.
“You could clearly see sex work taking place.
“Pill is not the only community to suffer a crime rate we are the second highest crime rate ward within Newport.”
Cllr Matthew Evans said: “I think we should have a complete ban on begging in Pill and the city centre.
“We do need to have a tougher stance agains the criminals.”
Cllr Kevin Whitehead said: “I really do feel sorry for the residents of Pill.
“I find it very sad.
“There is an answer somewhere but it will be a slow progress.”
A council report says that, since August 31 last year, 35 people have been arrested for soliciting in the Pill ward, with 28 of those charged.
A further six arrests were made in this time relating to street sexually exploited adults, which were non-prostitution offences, the report says.