Prostitutes, drug dealers, and kerb crawlers in Streatham will be the target of a new vice unit set up by Lambeth police.

The specialist unit is being established at Streatham Police Station to purge the problem from street corners in Brixton Hill and Streatham wards.

Lambeth's new borough commander, Chief Superintendent Nick Ephgrave has given approval for the unit's formation this week amid concerns that the area's Safer Neighbourhood Teams are struggling to deal with prostitution in their wards.

He said: "Since taking Command in June, it has been pretty clear to me that there are real concerns about the levels of street prostitution in Lambeth, particularly in Brixton Hill and Streatham wards. "The re-introduction of a dedicated vice squad will tackle this issue head on - sending a very clear message to those engaged in street prostitution - both sex workers and their customers - that this behaviour is unsafe, unlawful, anti-social and will not be tolerated."

Prostitution in the area has been an ongoing problem for Lambeth Police.

In July last year, mounted police were sent out to catch prostitutes selling their wares in broad daylight next to Tooting Common.

Residents in the area complained that the problem was out of control along Garrad's Road within a month of a previous vice squad being dissolved.

The reinstated squad of nine officers will be operational from the beginning of October and will report to a local inspector. Plain clothes officers will monitor prostitution hot spots while high visibility patrols will act as a deterrence to would-be kerb crawlers.

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