The National Ugly Mug (NUM) Scheme, founded by the UK Network of Sex Work Projects (UKNSWP), has received almost 1800 reports of crime against sex workers in the last 3 years, of which 45% involved violence.
Furthermore, 27% of the total number of reports involved some form of sexual assault and 15% of all the incidents reported were rapes. This represents a figure of 262 rapes of sex workers, almost 70% of whom were street workers (NUM 2015).
The National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) National Policing Sex Work Guidance issued in December 2015 seeks to offer practical and meaningful advice to those within the Police Service dealing with sex work related issues.
One of the of key recommendations of the guidance is around police forces engaging with the NUM Scheme and setting up intelligence pathways which support local schemes that are linked to NUM.
In the North East Region:
- 126 individual sex workers are signed up to receive alerts
- 23 Projects / Organisations are signed up to receive alerts
- 18 Advertising sites / establishments are signed up to receive alerts
The NUM Scheme is an invaluable tool to safeguard sex workers and reduce the risk that they face every day to violent attacks and rape.
Specialist service providers across Cleveland proactively raise awareness and promote the use of NUMs and sex workers are encouraged to make use of the system should they be victim of any violent incidents.
The sharing of this information is vital in terms of individual’s safety and the wider intelligence picture that can be generated.