AlexH

Why Do The Police Not Act? And Is The Closeness To Illegality Disconcerting?

49 posts in this topic

From considering the legal guidance made available via this forum, it appears that it is a criminal offence to act or assist in the management of a brothel (under section 33A of the Sexual Offences Act 1956). Premises will constitute a brothel if more than one woman works there. On this basis, it seems that a number of the establishments referred to on this website are breaking the criminal law. These establishments operate a brothel/ brothels at which there is a regular rotation of sex workers, and this would appear to be a clear example of committing the criminal offence of acting or assisting in the management of the brothel. It is easy to deduce from these establishments' websites that they are operating a brothel/ brothels, and it would seem to be quite a straightforward task for the police to charge the owners of these establishments with the offence of assisting in the management of a brothel. My questions are:

1) Why do the police often not charge the establishment owners with the offence of assisting in the management of a brothel? My experience of the police is that if they can secure an easy arrest and conviction, they will generally do so. It would seem to be very easy for the police to arrest and charge the owners of these establishments with this offence based on the contents of the establishments' websites alone. In some cases, there is blatant illegality and the establishment owners are probably making considerable profits by breaking the criminal law. I would have thought that with such open illegality for a commercial purpose, the police would have done something. However, many of the establishments mentioned on this website, which appear to be breaking the criminal law, have been operating with impunity for years. Does anyone have any idea as to why this is?

2) Does the fact that these establishments appear to be breaking the criminal law not act as a disincentive to: (i) those who wish to use the services of the sex workers working at these establishments, and (ii) those who wish to work as sex workers at the establishments? Prostitution in the UK is sometimes described as just another lawful service. However, when I wish to procure a lawful service, I generally do not need to book the service through criminals. Equally, if I want to provide a lawful service, I generally do not need to rely on criminals to act as my agents. In the case of an establishment that is blatantly operating a brothel, I would need to book the services of a sex worker through the establishment itself, even though the establishment is breaking the criminal law. Similarly, if I wished to work as a sex worker at such an establishment, I would be relying on people who would be breaking the criminal law to act as my agents and book clients on my behalf. Does this not make clients and sex workers reluctant to involve themselves with these establishments? I understand that the clients and the sex workers may be acting completely lawfully themselves, but I would have thought that, as generally law-abiding citizens, they might find their their close proximity to criminal agents off-putting.

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No it doesn't bother me, as in this regard I believe the law is an ass, so labelling those running them as criminals is a purely technical term.

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Laws that try to dictate morality are fundamentally immoral.

Everyday the establishment introduce new laws to increase their control.

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As from Friday morning you will be able to take this question to your directly elected Police & Crime Commissioner. Then he may feel obliged to act to preserve the good name of your home town.

As for me, I believe the law should have better things to do with their time than interfere with a well run consensual brothel.

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maybe it's as simple as the police not having enough resources?

I think the local police tend to know about brothels and check every so often that the girls are in the country legally, not trafficked and are happy and healthy. I think there is a thinking that despite the law brothels are a safer alternative to street walkers and women working alone. From what I gather police tolerance depends very much on the local chief of police's stance. If the neighbours aren't complaining and no nuisance is called they will leave alone.

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Most of us on here are aware of the laws, and we think they're pretty stupid. Luckily, a fair number of police departments up and down the country agree. Workers are safer (and less expensive to police) when they work indoors and although the law is occasionally invoked in this matter, it's also frequently flouted. Then again, sometimes it's used to target women like Shelia Farmer, who was working to fund her cancer treatment and happened to be working with another woman for safety -- having been violently robbed once before. The law on this matter, when used in this way, is immoral, if you ask me.

Edited by Curious Rose

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However, many of the establishments mentioned on this website, which appear to be breaking the criminal law, have been operating with impunity for years. Does anyone have any idea as to why this is?

There are lots of high street brothels where I live and they are tolerated by the police.

The police have limited resources and would rather spend their time tackling gun crime, drug-dealing and burglary.

They know who owns the brothels and in most respects it's all very open. If they shut the brothels down there would be more street prostitution and the brothels would be forced underground.

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There are plenty of convictions if you care to look. Here's a recent one involving a couple of pensioners:-

http://www.ipswichstar.co.uk/news/ipswich_pensioner_who_helped_run_brothel_at_angels_massage_parlour_is_spared_jail_1_1533120#article-comments

Some forces tolerate brothels as they recognise that having girls work in such place is infinitely preferable and safer than street working. Equally other forces apply the laws stringently.

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The big point to hoist on board here is that even in our rather sad country, unlike Germany (for instance) where in a swing back from the NSDAP regime, if an offence is detected, it must be prosecuted (except, of course, for Privatklage matters, where the victim's consent is required), in England&Wales and Scotland (I'm not sure about Northern Ireland) there is a wide discretion for the police to detect and report, or not, as they, then, think fit!

The reasons why they change their policies and when they do so, are often unworthy and ill thought through, but no matter!

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is it just me or is this an unusual first post for a punting board?

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No it doesn't bother me, as in this regard I believe the law is an ass, so labelling those running them as criminals is a purely technical term.

I agree with you sir, it's an ass, it's just law written on book and kept on the bookshelf when necessary it's taken out from the shelf for reading.

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is it just me or is this an unusual first post for a punting board?

Fair question! We all have to make first posts, and although this one has been asked before many, many times, it is still a reasonable one to puzzle over,

and,

IMHO, as first posts go, this one is a hell of a lot better (and without errors in spelling or grammar) than many!

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1) Why do the police often not charge the establishment owners with the offence of assisting in the management of a brothel? My experience of the police is that if they can secure an easy arrest and conviction, they will generally do so.

Am not a lawyer, but prosecuting for management of a brothel when there are no other offences committed whatsoever is both very difficult and potentially very embarrassing for the police.

There have been a small number of cases ( 1 for brothel-keeping iirc ) where the accused has pleaded 'not guilty' to an offence of which they are clearly guilty. It goes to jury. And the jury does have the power to find 'not guilty' despite all the judges hints about the case being clear-cut.

Would you feel lucky if you were prosecuting about going up against what in effect could be a jury which will judge on what is reasonable and not on what the law says.

Ther'll be many other factors, but this has to be included

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is it just me or is this an unusual first post for a punting board?

Slightly, the spelling and grammar are definitly above average :)

My assumption was probably a student or journalist.

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is it just me or is this an unusual first post for a punting board?

Yes, and I await Alex's post #2 with great interest. It is a good question and, like WT, I think it may be by a student with a thesis to write. Good luck to him/her.

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Thank you for your answers so far. They are interesting. On my second question, the consensus seems to be that the law is an ass (see the comments of Vin DaLoo, Curious Rose, porker paul and lewishamguy) or is immoral (WykeTyke and Curious Rose). Therefore, whilst those operating certain establishments may be criminals, they seem to be viewed as criminals in a technical sense only, who are doing nothing morally wrong and who are breaking stupid laws anyway. I am not sure whether I agree with this as a justification for their activities, because the rest of us are expected to obey the law even if we regard it as immoral or stupid. However, I can see the point made by Curious Rose and mega that whilst these establishments may be breaking the law, they also help promote the safety of sex workers, which further undermines any moral justification there may be in criminalising them.

The answers so far to the first question seems to be that the police do not act because they do not have sufficient resources (see the comments of MinxyLydia and Silverado) or because it may be difficult to secure convictions (bongo). There is also a suggestion that the police themselves may regard rigid enforcement of the law as counterproductive. All of these seem like good explanations. Thank you!

In response to MinxyLydia and Irgendeiner, I have made the legality issue the subject of my first post because it is something I am interested in. There is no other reason.

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Am not a lawyer, but prosecuting for management of a brothel when there are no other offences committed whatsoever is both very difficult and potentially very embarrassing for the police.

I don't think that it's either difficult or embarrassing for the police (or even the CPS). The conviction success rate appears to be quite high. It's not that often that all persons prosecuted for keeping or managing a brothel are found not guilty.

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Hi Silverado, I was thinking of the Claire Finch case where the accused had the brass to plead 'not guilty' and the jury saw it that way too.

It's hard to tell but it doesn't appear to have left embarrassed faces or discouraged forces anywhere else though, as you imply.

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Hi Silverado, I was thinking of the Claire Finch case where the accused had the brass to plead 'not guilty' and the jury saw it that way too.

It's hard to tell but it doesn't appear to have left embarrassed faces or discouraged forces anywhere else though, as you imply.

I knew that you were referring to the Clair Finch case, but it's not often that all charged are found not guilty verdict. CF came across well on the television and had a lot of support, including that of her neighbours. I'm not at all surprised that she was found not guilty.

The Court of Appeal in R v Solanki [2011] pretty much ruled out her defence being successful in future prosecutions.

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Thank you for that information. Cheers.

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Thank you for your answers so far. They are interesting. On my second question, the consensus seems to be that the law is an ass (see the comments of Vin DaLoo, Curious Rose, porker paul and lewishamguy) or is immoral (WykeTyke and Curious Rose). Therefore, whilst those operating certain establishments may be criminals, they seem to be viewed as criminals in a technical sense only, who are doing nothing morally wrong and who are breaking stupid laws anyway. I am not sure whether I agree with this as a justification for their activities, because the rest of us are expected to obey the law even if we regard it as immoral or stupid. However, I can see the point made by Curious Rose and mega that whilst these establishments may be breaking the law, they also help promote the safety of sex workers, which further undermines any moral justification there may be in criminalising them.

The answers so far to the first question seems to be that the police do not act because they do not have sufficient resources (see the comments of MinxyLydia and Silverado) or because it may be difficult to secure convictions (bongo). There is also a suggestion that the police themselves may regard rigid enforcement of the law as counterproductive. All of these seem like good explanations. Thank you!

In response to MinxyLydia and Irgendeiner, I have made the legality issue the subject of my first post because it is something I am interested in. There is no other reason.

The important thing from my point of view is there are clear laws on brothels but the police in any given area enforce that law to the letter or dont and allow brothels to operate. Any that advertise the police will know about and its often the case they will visit them on a regular basis without closing what is an illegal entity down. A recent case i think posted on a recent thread on this board concerned a brothel which was raided and closed and the owner sent to prison, in the linked in article it said her sentence had been less because the police had been regular visitors to it. I wonder if the judge asked why on their first visit didnt they enforce the law.

Another thing to put into the mix is POCA where a brothel owners assets can be seized. This now gives a financial motive for the police to raid brothels because if successful they financially benefit. So in at least some areas the police could let brothels operate and then raid them when they choose to hoping to benefit from POCA.

As a punter who enjoys punting in brothels and has for many years i wish to see them legalised, i dont agree a willing WGs working in brothels is wrong, it is legally but that law is not one i respect or agree with. So i have no problem punting in brothels or dealing with criminals as i dont see them as that. To clarify i am only talking about willing WGs that work in brothels. So cant afford their own premises so work in a Parlour who supply it for them and use their site to attract punters in. In exchange the WGs agree to give a cut of their fee to the brothel.

If you arent familiar with Dr Magnanti she was Belle De Jour and worked as a WG for an Agency giving them £100 or her £300 an hour fees. Look her up and you would see her mainly positive views on being a WG. They are views echoed by many WGs on here some who i have punted with myself.

A brothel could be raided and closed at any time even if its been operating for years and some have been, you just dont know when. Overall, as concerning brothels as has been posted the police have some discretion and it will come down to the attitude of the top cops in any given area as to what their attitude is, allowing brothels or having a no tolerance policy.

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The important thing from my point of view is there are clear laws on brothels but the police in any given area enforce that law to the letter or dont and allow brothels to operate. Any that advertise the police will know about and its often the case they will visit them on a regular basis without closing what is an illegal entity down. A recent case i think posted on a recent thread on this board concerned a brothel which was raided and closed and the owner sent to prison, in the linked in article it said her sentence had been less because the police had been regular visitors to it. I wonder if the judge asked why on their first visit didnt they enforce the law.

Another thing to put into the mix is POCA where a brothel owners assets can be seized. This now gives a financial motive for the police to raid brothels because if successful they financially benefit. So in at least some areas the police could let brothels operate and then raid them when they choose to hoping to benefit from POCA.

As a punter who enjoys punting in brothels and has for many years i wish to see them legalised, i dont agree a willing WGs working in brothels is wrong, it is legally but that law is not one i respect or agree with. So i have no problem punting in brothels or dealing with criminals as i dont see them as that. To clarify i am only talking about willing WGs that work in brothels. So cant afford their own premises so work in a Parlour who supply it for them and use their site to attract punters in. In exchange the WGs agree to give a cut of their fee to the brothel.

If you arent familiar with Dr Magnanti she was Belle De Jour and worked as a WG for an Agency giving them £100 or her £300 an hour fees. Look her up and you would see her mainly positive views on being a WG. They are views echoed by many WGs on here some who i have punted with myself.

A brothel could be raided and closed at any time even if its been operating for years and some have been, you just dont know when. Overall, as concerning brothels as has been posted the police have some discretion and it will come down to the attitude of the top cops in any given area as to what their attitude is, allowing brothels or having a no tolerance policy.

Thanks for your detailed answer. Police enforcement does seem arbitrary, in that enforcement will depend on whatever practice is operated by a local force at a given time. I agree that if an establishment advertises, the police will know about it. As you say, some police forces will enforce the law to the letter and others will not enforce it to the same extent or at all. What I am still not sure about is the reason for the different enforcement practices between police forces. Why would one police force seek to close every brothel down and another police force permit one or more known brothels to operate? Does a lot of this just depend on politics and the pressure put on police forces by local politicians?

I think I have a better idea as to why a local police force would allow a brothel to operate for a particular period of time and then make a decision to enforce the law against it. I am not sure whether I agree with what you say about POCA motivating the timing of a police raid. You assume that POCA financially benefits the police, but the proceeds of crime go to the Treasury rather than the police. I think that it is more likely that the timing of police enforcement action will depend on things like whether complaints have been made about a brothel or whether there have been reports of violent or other criminal behaviour in the vicinity of the brothel.

Also, the brothel itself would not technically be an 'illegal entity'. The girls who work in a brothel will also not be breaking the law simply by working in the brothel. The illegality is in offences like managing a brothel. Maybe the police act if the management of the brothel start turning over too much trade? If the management become too successful and their brothel becomes too well known, I can see how there would be more pressure on the police to take enforcement action against the management, as the police would not want to be seen to be turning a blind eye to large-scale, profitable criminal activity. In fact, I don't think it would be very difficult for local people to force the closure of a brothel if they wished to. All they would really need to do would be to create publicity bemoaning the existence of the brothel and the police would probably feel compelled to act. Therefore, the absence of local opposition to a brothel is probably a further explanation for any lack of police enforcement action.

I don't think I want to get into the question of whether being a sex worker is a 'positive' thing! That would be beyond the scope of this topic.

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You are asking why the Police don't act, but since we are mostly punters and working girls any answer we give is only opinion. Whilest a few establishments do post, they don't know for fact either. The only people who might give a real insight would be anononomous police officers and they don't post here to our knowledge.

The Police need to prioritise limited resources, they likely exercse a judgement based largely on pragmatism.

In my city the Brothels are tolerated but the Police regularly target the street w/g and just ended up dispersing them to other places.

In Ipswitch, the Police clamped down, closed the brothels down and w/g were put at risk on the street and some became murder victims.

So say you aren't a student,journalist; are you a punter, a prospective w/g or brothel keeper?

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Yes, and I await Alex's post #2 with great interest. It is a good question and, like WT, I think it may be by a student with a thesis to write. Good luck to him/her.

Possibly even a female, working student as per Belle de Jour!

Good luck, as you say!

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You are asking why the Police don't act, but since we are mostly punters and working girls any answer we give is only opinion. Whilest a few establishments do post, they don't know for fact either. The only people who might give a real insight would be anononomous police officers and they don't post here to our knowledge.

The Police need to prioritise limited resources, they likely exercse a judgement based largely on pragmatism.

In my city the Brothels are tolerated but the Police regularly target the street w/g and just ended up dispersing them to other places.

In Ipswitch, the Police clamped down, closed the brothels down and w/g were put at risk on the street and some became murder victims.

So say you aren't a student,journalist; are you a punter, a prospective w/g or brothel keeper?

Police do visit Escorts.

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