A SENIOR Brent councillor has called for politicians and police across the capital to work together to tackle the problem of prostitution.

Authorities are expecting a sharp rise in the number of brothels and prostitutes in London to coincide with the 2012 Olympic Games, as millions of people flow into the capital.

Councillor Ann John, leader of Brent Council, led a review while in opposition into the amount of brothels and street prostitutes operating in the borough and what measures should be taken to tackle the problem.

In particular she warned the problem could escalate significantly when the 2012 Olympics comes to Wembley Arena.

Now leader, Cllr John said: “I have gone to meetings with other Olympic boroughs about prostitution and the sex trade, and there is a lot of work going on around that area.

“The five affected boroughs are very aware of this, but people accessing the Olympics won't necessarily go to buy sex in an Olympic borough.

“There needs to be speed of action and there needs to be a London-wide response to this.”

Cllr John said she had not appreciated the impact and scale of the problem of prostitution before undertaking the council study, and called on others to take it more seriously than it has been in the past.

She said: “Perhaps we should be rethinking our attitude towards it. It's not legal so why are we tolerating it?

“I have asked for it to be a policing priority, I have asked other services to make sure we get support to exiting prostitutes.”

The Harrow Times, through its parent company Newsquest, has banned adult services adverts from its pages, taking a stand that these type of notices are fronts for brothels and possible exploitation of women and people trafficking.

Cllr John's study called on all newspapers to ban these adverts, or at least take more editorial control over what is printed, but she said this advice has not been adopted.

She said: “I am a bit disappointed nothing has happened about that.

“It is difficult to get hard evidence, and difficult to survey punters, but one of the reasons advertising in local newspapers is so high is because of the sporting venues, and other boroughs don't get as much.”

She added in one week she counted more than 100 adverts offering “adult services” in the two local newspapers still carrying them, including some which mentioned race as part of the deal – something which is banned.

Work on tackling prostitution in Brent has now been taken up by the crime prevention strategy group, in conjunction with the borough's police.

Chief Superintendent Matt Gardner, borough commander for Brent, offered his support to the council and said prostitution in the borough was “a concern” he was keen to tackle.