The West Ender
Thursday, July 30, 1998

Mary Frances Hill

Database works to track city's sex-buyers

Award-winning cops spread idea across Canada

A local police initiative to track down sex trade "consumers" has won accolades and converts from across B.C. and Canada.

Vancouver police constables Oscar Ramos and Ray Payette have recently been awarded the R.J. Canuel Award fr Excellence in Policing, for their program "Deter, Identify, Sex-Trade Consumers or D.I.S.C. The system aims to identify and deter "consumers" or johns, from frequenting prostitutes.

Since police instituted the program last January, officered have entered 182 names in the database, apprended 36 juvenile sex offenders and relocated them to foster or natural families. Of the 182 johns notified so far, two have repeated the offense.

On the consumer, or john's first "stop" by authorities, his details area entered into the DISC database equipped in police automobiles. A "Dear John" letter, describing the prostitution problems in Vancouver neighborhoods, is then posted to his residence.

So far, the system has brought noticable drops in sex-trade worker traffic in the "Franklin Stroll" area near East Hastings and Commercial Drive, and in Mount Pleasant.

"Dear John" letters may go to men who either pick up, or are found in the company of, a sex trade worker, who continually drive around the area frequented by sex-trade workers, or continue to stop and talk to them.

The success of the DISC database has caught the interest of surrounding cities. This month, Port Moody, New Westminster, Abbotsford and Sudbury Ontario, will introduce DISC to police work. Currently, the cities of Burnaby, Surrey, North Vancouver, Calgary, Alberta and London, Ontario are working to introduce it their departments. Las Vegas' police department has also expressed interested.

Bringing DISC across municipal boundaries will help police curb the effects of the sex trade, which is frequented mostly by transients, said Payette.

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Created: August 24, 1998
Last modified: August 24, 1998

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