Sex workers in North Yorkshire are to get better protection from police after the force adopted a new policy for dealing with hate crime.
North Yorkshire Police has now adopted crimes against sex workers into its official policy and has also adopted Misogyny under its hate crime policy.
The force is following in the footsteps of Merseyside Police, who in 2006 recognised sex workers were a vulnerable group of people they wanted to protect and they declared crimes against sex workers to be hate crimes.
This is known as the ‘Merseyside model’ and North Yorkshire Police is now following suit to protect sex workers and encourage them to report anything that can be classed as a hate crime or hate incident.
An investigation into the incident will determine whether a crime has been committed and will establish whether there is enough evidence to bring a prosecution.
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Inspector Ed Rogerson said: “It’s clear that some sex workers are targeted because of their sex working and these offences should be treated as hate crimes. Hate crime can take various forms, including physical attacks, threat of attack, online harassment and verbal abuse or insults.
“Sex work is legal between consenting adults, but as a force we understand that a lot of sex workers are wary of the police and, for a range of reasons, are often anxious about reporting to the police should they be victims of crime. They may be worried that they will be judged, not taken seriously, arrested, face an outcome that causes disruption to their working and that they may be identified publicly.
“I want to reassure sex workers that this is not the case in North Yorkshire, and that we strongly believe they deserve and will receive the same level of respect and protection as everyone in our communities.”