NUM CEO statement regarding Mike Veale’s comments on the Heath Enquiry

National Ugly Mugs, a national organisation working to provide greater access to justice and protection for sex workers who are victims of crime, completely and unreservedly supports the response in the article from Nicky Adams of the English Collective of Prostitutes to Mike Veale’s “personal view” as reported.

His view, as Nicky states, reflects old-fashioned police attitudes and are completely at odds with the National Police Chiefs Council’s guidance document which clearly states that “…the safety of people engaged in sex work must be paramount to the police service”.


The police guidance also recognises that around only 25% sex workers reporting to NUM are willing to report crimes against them directly to the police. One of the reoccurring stated reasons for this reluctance, given by sex workers, is the fear of not being believed. Given Mike Veale’s rank and status in the police force, his comments, despite being referred to as “personal”, will reinforce this fear and be significantly detrimental to the work being done by sex workers and their allies to increasing formal reporting to police and is contradictory to one of the key aims of the guidance which is to improve the communication between the police and sex workers.


A decrease in sex workers reporting crimes against them, will only serve to reinforce the message to perpetrators that they can commit their crimes without fear of being brought to justice, enabling them not only continue but escalate behaviours with disastrous consequences. The offenders are often serial sexual predators who pose a huge risk to sex workers and the public as a whole. With 182 sex workers being murdered in the UK since 1990, the issue is about far more than a “bad debt”


Tony Shea

CEO – National Ugly Mugs