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Journalist Tom Seward provides a very informative examination of the work of the Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP) which has been operating on the streets of Swindon since 2013 (SA 14 June). Interestingly Carolyn Deverall, service improvement manager in the Office of the PCC considers the scheme to have been a success, suggesting that the growth in street prostitution has resulted in even more posts being created to support the women; I think that some might consider the necessity for SWOP after five years of activity demonstrates a level of failure.

Wiltshire police’s ‘adult sex exploitation manager’ states without a trace of irony that “criminalising sex workers is something Wiltshire Police will not do” and suggests that prosecuting street sex workers “serves no benefit to anybody... because the only sanction is a £100 fine”.

PC Kuklinski knows that while prostitution itself is not a criminal offence, a number of related activities will be in breach of the law. This includes working as a pimp, running a brothel, kerb crawling, marketing sex workers by placing ‘business’ cards in public areas or engaging in sexual activity in a public place. However, street prostitution is illegal under legislation and as set out in Section 16 of the Policing and Crime Act 2009. This means that a sex worker will be breaking the law if they attempt to solicit or wait for custom in a public place, including on streets, in alleyways or within discreet public areas. It is not in the gift of Wiltshire police to de-criminalise what the law states is a criminal act, and it might be said that in turning a blind eye to the criminal behaviour of the sex worker, particularly if such a decision is influenced by the paucity of the sanction of £100, the police are failing to act impartially or in accordance with the law.

It is beyond sad that some women and men find it necessary to fund their lives through prostitution – just as it is sad that some people turn to other crimes to feed their addictions. Discussions about legalising the ‘oldest profession’ have been tried but appear to fail on the ideological and moral mores of those who support or disagree with the basic concept of local authority regulated brothels. Perhaps now is the time to.

Des Morgan, Caraway Drive, Swindon

Nothing to celebrate

June 30 is on the horizon. It’s the day when many parks across the country will be decorated with national flags, military flags and metres of bunting hanging from trees. There will be face painting, stalls, bouncy castles, burger vans and ice cream vans and much more entertainment to keep visitors amused and occupied for many hours.

What national event am I referring to? June 30 is Armed Forces Day when the military alongside politicians from across the political spectrum will unite to give impressionable youngsters the idea that war and militarism is glamorous and something to celebrate.

I have in recent years watched in horror and despair as our armed forces sent overseas by successive governments have invaded, dropped bombs and occupied countries and of which has caused death, destruction and humanitarian suffering on an unimaginable scale.

On this day I have reason to visit Bath, whilst I’m there I will stand with members of Bath anti-war movement outside Bath Abbey not only in protest against armed forces but against war in general. War is brutal and barbaric and is nothing to celebrate. As the anti-war movement says “You can bomb the world to pieces but you can’t bomb it to peace.” Will our government ever learn?

Martin Webb, Swindon Road, Old Town, Swindon

Will we ever get out?

In the EU referendum 2016 Britain voted to leave the EU.

The awkward problem has arisen that it is not possible to both leave the EU and to have an open border with the Irish Republic.

In their efforts to achieve these aims the government is planning a customs partnership which technically involves Britain staying in the EU.

The back stop arrangement proposed by the government already keeps Britain in the customs union until the end of 2021.

At the present time it does not seem at all likely that we are ever going to get the Brexit that we voted for in 2016.

Steve Halden, Beaufort Green, Swindon

About women’s rights

In his second recent letter arguing against the rights of women to have access to abortion Steve Jack writes that referring to cases, such as that of Sativa Halappanavar who died of septicaemia in Ireland while doctors weighed up her right to treatment against the right of a foetus, is a smokescreen used by the pro-choice lobby.

On the contrary such cases show the practical consequences for real life women of putting abstract and religiously based definitions of human life above the rights of women. Such real-life cases energised the movement in Ireland which won the referendum. For the first time women were empowered to tell their stories and this drove this historic step forward.

The Irish referendum vote will allow abortion before 12 weeks, or after if the woman’s health is seriously threatened. I don’t think the biological argument is decisive; I think abortion is a women’s rights issue, but 12 weeks is before the completion of neural circuits which allow any kind of consciousness. Mr Jacks continual use of the word baby is a smokescreen and is inaccurate. A 12 week foetus is not a sentient human with the more rights than the woman whose uterus supports it.

Any decent society where compassion and respect are paramount will ensure women have the legal right to control their own bodies and as all the evidence shows, when this right is accepted any abortions happen earlier and earlier, negating the false equation of foetus and baby.

Peter Smith, Woodside Avenue, Swindon

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