On 8th August, we were pleased to co-host the Ugly Mugs and Sex Worker Safety Event at Elland Road Police Station, in partnership with West Yorkshire Police, the event was also supported by Safer Leeds. This marked the re-launch of the Leeds Genesis Ugly Mugs Scheme, as part of Leeds Prostitution strategy West Yorkshire Police have reviewed the intelligence pathway for ugly mugs and there is now enhanced police intelligence analysis and tasking surrounding the Ugly Mugs Scheme, and the reports that Genesis and partner agencies who are members of the scheme we coordinate take. Our CEO Rosie Campbell Chaired the event. We were delighted to have in attendance and representing Merseyside Police Force Assistant Chief Constable Chris Armitt, the National Police Lead on Prostitution. He spoke about the direction of policing guidance on sex work nationally which support ugly mugs and prioritises sex worker safety. He described the Merseyside model which treats crimes against sex workers as hate crime. Genesis Acting Team Leader, Emily Turner presented on Ugly Mugs and in Leeds alongside Phil Mitchell from our partner agency BLAST/MESMAC who highlighted issues for male sex workers. One of the most encouraging aspects of the Genesis Ugly Mugs Scheme is the increase in incidents that are being reported to our team, but more specifically we have seen in recent months an increase in the number of those incidents where our service users are willing to share their personal details with the police.
We also heard from Detective Superintendent Tim Kellan, Merseyside Police and Shelly Stoops, Manager, Safe-Place, Merseyside, who both highlighted the undoubtable success of Ugly Mugs in Merseyside; there has been a 400% increase in the proportion of people reporting giving consent to share full details with the police, since 2006. They further detailed a number of cases of perpetrators of crimes against sex workers who had been prosecuted by Merseyside Police and found guilty. There was also a presentation from Shelly and Helen from Bradford working women’s project about their ugly mugs scheme and their work to also address coercive others.
Feedback from attendees was excellent!