MEN up to the age of 69 have been arrested in Wiltshire for vice-related offences in the past six years, police have revealed, as they put in place new support mechanisms for sex workers in Swindon.

Since 2008, 59 people have been arrested for vice-related offences, most of whom were men.

The offences include loitering or soliciting for the purposes of prostitution, causing, inciting and controlling a prostitute for gain, keeping a brothel, and paying for sexual services.

Men accounted for 39 of the 59 arrested, and while around a third of the total were aged between 40 and 49, four people in their 60s found themselves collared for vice offences.

Eight of the arrests related to human trafficking for the purposes of prostitution.

Over the last year new initiatives have been put in place in Swindon to keep sex workers out of the courts, with a focus on tackling the root of the problem and trying to get them off the streets.

Alongside the recruitment of a proactive outreach worker in the town, a conditional caution scheme is also in place.

Officers will give sex workers three warnings in the course of their activities before giving them a mandatory referral to the ISIS Women’s Centre, where they receive support and guidance to tackle issues including drug habits and welfare.

The emphasis for vice officers now is tackling kerb-crawlers, with co-ordinated operations taking place on red-routes and known hot-spots.

Use of the national Ugly Mugs scheme is also actively encouraged among sex workers, in which descriptions and details of violent customers can be shared across the country as a warning.

PC Louise Kuklinski, vice officer at Wiltshire Police, said: “Whether working in brothels or out on the streets, sex work is an incredibly risky situation to be in, and the biggest part of my job is managing the risk.

“They are meeting complete strangers both on foot and in vehicles and are often being driven to secluded areas without anyone else knowing where they are.

“This emphasises the importance of the work that we are doing each day in very close partnership with many other agencies and organisations.

“I rely on the community and other professionals coming to me, telling me their concerns and giving me information that might give rise to an incident.

“The issue of on-street sex work in Swindon is relative to the size and population of the town. It is not disproportionate to other towns of a similar size.

“We have structures in place to ensure that areas associated with on-street sex work are regularly patrolled.

“The approach we have when dealing with sex workers is different to that of kerb crawlers.

“Wiltshire Police will take robust action against any person found kerb-crawling or soliciting.”