Prostitutes, 'Johns' won't be charged in Saint John, chief says

Saint John police will not be charging prostitutes or Johns in the city until federal laws are clarified, the chief says.

Police Chief Bill Reid says officers are 'in a holding pattern' until federal laws are clarified

Policing prostitution. While parliament scrambles to rewrite prostitution laws... Police are left wondering what they can and can't do to crack down on the sex trade. Harry Forestell speaks with Saint John Police Chief Bill Reid about what his force has been doing since the change. 4:37

The head of the Saint John Police Force says his officers will not be charging people with prostitution offences until federal laws are clarified.

Chief Bill Reid says a Supreme Court ruling striking down the country's prostitution laws and a decision this week by the New Brunswick government not to prosecute offenders leaves police no other option.

"We're sort of in a holding pattern," he said.

"I think it would be a bit of fool’s errand right now to start laying charges."

Reid says there is a risk the trade in street sex will increase.  But his force will do all it can to discourage the activity.

Officers will continue to send letters by registered mail to the registered owners of vehicles spotted in areas known for the sex trade, he said.

They will also continue to work with the local sex trade committee and the methadone clinic, he said.

Canada’s top judges unanimously struck down the prostitution laws on Dec. 20 and gave Parliament a year to create new laws, if it chooses to.

New Brunswick prosecutors have said they expect most prostitution charges currently before the courts to be withdrawn in light of the Supreme Court decision.