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Section 19 Soliciting: England and Wales 110.This section creates a new single offence of soliciting. The section inserts a new section in to the Sexual Offences Act 2003, which replaces both sections 1 and 2 of the Sexual Offences Act 1985. These two sections currently cover the offences of kerb-crawling in a street or public place (section 1) and persistent soliciting in a street or public place (section 2) for the purposes of prostitution. Both activities require an element of persistency in relation to the person kerb-crawling or soliciting in order for an offence to have been committed or, in the case of kerb-crawling, for the soliciting to be shown to be likely to cause nuisance or annoyance to the person solicited or nuisance to others in the neighbourhood.
111.Subsection (1) of the new section states that it is an offence for a person in a street or public place to solicit another person for the purpose of obtaining the person’s sexual services as a prostitute. Subsection (2) makes it clear that a person in a street or public place includes a person in a vehicle in a street or public place. The new section removes the need for persistency making kerb-crawling or soliciting punishable on the first occasion. In the case of kerb-crawling it also removes any requirement for the soliciting to be shown to cause nuisance or annoyance to others. Subsection (3) provides that the maximum penalty for this offence will be a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale, currently £1000.