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Monday 06 March 2017, 1:47 PM

Last week officers and staff from Project Solace, a joint initiative between Gloucestershire Constabulary and Gloucester City Council, secured a three-month civil closure order on a residential address in Oxmoor in Abbeydale.

This is because the address is believed to have been used in relation to sexual offences.

No one is allowed to enter the address until 3 June apart from the homeowner. Any breach is a criminal offence and could result in an arrest.

A 63-year-old man was also arrested on suspicion of trafficking offences against vulnerable women, coercive control and class A drugs supply in connection with the case. He has been bailed until 3 May in connection with the offences and was also given an interim injunction with strict conditions on his behaviour. Inquiries into the criminal offences are continuing while any breach of the injunction could result in a custodial sentence.

Emily Jones, Senior Community Safety Officer with Project Solace said: “We think this is the first closure order under the Sexual Offences Act in the South West so it is ground breaking.

“We’ve managed to relocate the victims to safe accommodation and are pleased we have been able to take action to prevent others from becoming victims.

“It is unusual for us to use a mix of civil enforcement powers while a criminal investigation is ongoing but it shows that we have tools we can and will use to protect people.

“We’re happy with the result of this case so far and will continue to take joint action and develop strategies to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our communities.”

Sergeant Matt Puttock said: “Cases like this are very complex to unravel and often difficult to detect because victims are vulnerable or do not feel able to report. By working with Solace we were able to identify a package of civil and criminal measures to address this case together. 

"The police investigation is still ongoing so we cannot comment further on that, but we hope the civil successes so far show people that things can and will be done to tackle these serious issues.

"We encourage any person who might be in a similar situation, or has concerns about someone who is, to contact us so that we can help." 

Project Solace is a partnership between Gloucester City Council and Gloucestershire Constabulary.

The City Council team work with Police as civil enforcement experts in order to prevent harm in our communities.

Police and the council recognise the importance and huge benefits of working in partnership to tackle complex and reoccurring issues like this case.

Project Solace is based at Gloucester City Council. You can report anti-social behaviour to them on 01452 396396 or email asb@gloucester.gov.uk

You can also call police on 101.

More information on Project Solace can be found at www.safergloucester.co.uk/Advice_and_Information/Anti-Social_Behaviour.aspx