Following our reports earlier this year surrounding the issue of sex workers in the Pill area of Newport, Inspector Jason Williams has written an open letter to Argus readers to update them on the work which has been going on in the community to address those concerns. He says:

"ON THURSDAY, we took part in the eighth Pill Action Day – the latest in a series of multi-agency events, responding to concerns from the local community about anti-social behaviour and crime.

"Activities carried out by ourselves and our partners, including Newport City Council, South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, social landlords and more, included enforcement, raising awareness of the Pill Public Spaces Protection Order, and environmental improvement work.

"We also involved our Mini Police from Pillgwenlly Primary School, who handed out crime prevention leaflets to residents. It was a successful day, and highlighted once more all partner agencies’ commitment to improving the well-being of the Pill community, building community trust, and reducing crime, fear of crime and anti-social behaviour.

READ MORE: Prostitutes and drug addicts are subjecting a Pill family to a living nightmare

"I’d like to take this opportunity to address an issue which was raised on the day, and has featured in the local media in recent months – reports of sex workers operating in the local area.

"We have a very good understanding of the sex work problem in Pillgwenlly and the individuals involved, and continue to take these concerns and reports seriously.

"We currently have two neighbourhood officers solely dedicated to tackling this issue, and plans are in place to double that number to four in the coming weeks.

"This affords us a more proactive and robust approach than ever before, working closely with residents, partner agencies and local councillors. This joint approach is exemplified by our involvement in a new Safer Newport Sex Work Partnership group, featuring a wide variety of agencies.

"In the last year or so, we have detained a number of kerb crawlers and have used powers under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 to warn them about their behaviour. None of those dealt with in this way have re-offended, so this tactic is proving effective. We have also issued a number of street cautions to sex workers in the past, but this is not effective as many of them are, in fact, very vulnerable and exploited people.

READ MORE: Newport community besieged by drug dealing, prostitutes and joy riders demand action

"Therefore, the right thing to do is to deal with this as a safeguarding issue, and so we are working with a range of partners to do everything we can to protect sex workers from further victimisation. We are also actively investigating those that control the sex workers, and this is where the focus of our enforcement activity needs to be. We have already searched and closed down a number of premises linked to sex work, and we will continue to pursue those that are involved in this form of organised criminality.

"We would invite anyone with information or concerns about sex workers, or other criminal or anti-social behaviour, in Pill to contact us on 101 as soon as possible. In an emergency, always dial 999. We need the support of our local community to combat these problems as effectively as possible.


Inspector Jason Williams, Newport West Neighbourhood Policing Team, Pill Police Station, Canal Terrace. Newport, Gwent, NP20 2BL