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Sex-trade policing fears

POLICE chiefs have drawn up a new strategy on Scotland's sex trade to be used by the new single police force, leading to fears of a national crackdown.

The plan has been drafted by the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (ACPOS) in advance of the new Police Service of Scotland coming into force in April.

Different forces currently regulate prostitution in different ways.

In Edinburgh, saunas linked to sex work are believed to be tolerated while Glasgow has a zero-tolerance approach to the trade.

The new strategy is designed to be used throughout Scotland to mini-mise harm, disrupt organised crime and reduce demand for prostitution.

There will still be some variations at a local level, but the sex workers' charity Scot-Pep fears that the approach of Glasgow will be forced on the rest of the country.

Scot-Pep's George Lewis said: "That does concern us.

"At the moment, the largest police force in Scotland has a zero-tolerance approach to sex work, and if it's that view that's allowed to prevail we'd be very, very worried about it being extended to the rest of Scotland."

The ACPOS strategy has a number of aims including "minimising the levels and impact of prostitution through reducing or eliminating the harm to sex workers".

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