Kerb crawlers caught in the act are being offered a day long course instead of facing a court conviction.
Like motorists who opt for speed awareness courses instead of facing fines, men caught soliciting in Preston’s red light area have the option of completing an educational activity about the impact of prostitution.
Several men have attended the scheme, called Operation Zero, in its first year, and police say they have seen a 100% success rate, with nobody re-offending.
Punters caught for the first time, who show “remorse”, are given a conditional caution on the condition they complete the course, which they pay for.
Some were aged 80, while others were just 18.
Sgt Mark Douglas said: “It’s our aim to stop kerb crawling in Preston. Similar schemes run in other areas and we decided to roll it out here.
“The majority of people we catch have never been in trouble with the police, they are from all social backgrounds, from truck drivers to doctors of education.” The course educates men about the impact on the women, surrounding communities, and warns punters of the risk to their own safety, and consequences if they reoffend.
Sgt Douglas said some had been “reduced to tears”.