Police Fail to Ban Condoms
A call by Police Scotland to ban “items of a sexual nature” from Edinburgh saunas has been rejected by the council.
Edinburgh Council reviewed the licenses of all 13 of the cities “saunas” (brothels deemed safe for sex-workers) last Wednesday. Seven will remain open, but the other six saw their applications refused.
This follows a series of police raids, undertaken to “tackle and detect any criminal activity”. Six saunas had their licenses suspended when the police found “used condoms” in the bins and “scantily clad females” on the premises.
The tolerant licensing system tacitly allows prostitution in a safe environment. However, Police Scotland has sought harsher rules and engaged in frequent raids.
One proposal was that “items of a sexual nature” be banned. Critics say that this amounted to banning condoms. A spokeswoman for Scot-Pep, a sex workers charity, said:
“Banning condoms would not have been safe. It would have pushed safe sex messages back 30 years.”
A Police spokesman said, “Police Scotland absolutely supports proper measures to protect sexual health.” and denied the ban would apply to condoms.
The council withdrew the submission without discussion. MSPs, safe-sex campaigners and The Church of Scotland all welcomed the decision.
Licensed venues will continue to be “inspected” to deal with “criminal offences” and “breaches of license”, whilst condoms continue to be seen as “evidence” of prostitution.
Scot-Pep have expressed concern, saying continued raids will “drive women out onto the street rather than let us work in discretion and safely indoors”.