Kerb crawlers in Doncaster could be offered a rehabilitation programme under plans by South Yorkshire Police.
Superintendent Neil Thomas said the force is looking to re-introduce the system, which offers offenders the opportunity to go on an awareness course rather than face court proceedings if they are caught soliciting prostitutes.
The programme was previously offered but is unavailable at present because the private company which provided it stopped the service.
“It would be an awareness and consequences programme,” said Supt Thomas.
“Do these people realise the danger they are putting themselves in and also the dangers for the prostitutes themselves?
“This course would be about giving offenders the chance to reform and change their ways, but obviously if somebody was found to be offending repeatedly then they would be dealt with by the courts.
“We want to give the people who are using these working girls all the help we can, but there’s only so much help we can give and if people are ignoring that then we will take appropriate action against them, such as a criminal behaviour order.”
Supt Thomas added that complaints about prostitution and kerb crawling in Town Moor and Town Fields, an area commonly associated with the red light district, have fallen.
He said: “We have not eradicated prostitution, and Town Moor and Town Fields is an area that has always been synonymous with the red light district, but in recent years we have seen a reduction in the number of complaints about prostitution and also kerb crawlers in that area.
“It is a long-standing problem, it is not something we are going to be able to solve over night but it’s one we have seen significant reductions in.”
Supt Thomas said he was reviewing if the course could be provided again by an external contractor, and if it was found to be viable it would be discussed by officials.