1. ITV Report

Northumbria Police gives its backing to anti slavery day

Photo: Northumbria Police

Northumbria Police is backing national Anti-Slavery Day on Wednesday.

The force and its partners have been working together to tackle this issue and want to raise awareness of the scale of the problem which affects areas across the UK, including the north-east.

The force also wants to highlight the issue of human trafficking and modern slavery and keep people informed about their ongoing work to target offenders who deal in this modern day human misery.

Here in Northumbria how we investigate Modern Day Slavery offences has moved on apace in recent years.

A great deal of work has been done by our officers to better understand the crime, hone our response to it and most importantly step up our response to protect victims, who are some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.

Tackling MDS and Human Trafficking is a high priority for the force and forms part of Northumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Dame Vera Baird's QC, Policing Plan. Through our regional networks we work closely with our colleagues from the National Crime Agency, Immigration Service and other partner agencies to share intelligence and act on it.

We are determined to do all we can and regularly carry out operations to target offenders, rescue victims and put those responsible before the courts.

We are committed to delivering improvements in how we deal with this serious crime which wrecks lives. The North East Region were the first to employ a Regional Co-ordinator dedicated to MDS and Human Trafficking as part of the National Police Transformation Unit and we also have an analyst to help us identify offenders and victims.

In April we hosted a regional training event delivered by the Independent Anti Slavery Commissioner to 40 investigators and senior detectives to share best practice. We are continuing to invest in College of Policing accredited training for all our frontline officers and investigators to tackle MDS.

Modern day slavery is a terrible crime that blights the lives of people who are the most vulnerable in our society. It is often hidden from sight and we rely on the vigilance of people in our local communities to report any suspicious behaviour to us, so we can take action.

We all have a responsibility to help protect those who may be vulnerable and we believe that Safeguarding is everyone's business."

– Acting Chief Constable Winton Keenen

Anyone with concerns about crime and human trafficking where they live is urged to contact police.

I am pleased to see great moves forward in Northumbria’s response and understanding of modern day slavery through targeted operations like this year’s Operation Kestrel, which saw significant successes.

Through this work, we have been able to protect some of the most vulnerable people in our communities, supporting them through such facilities as Newcastle’s Victim Reception Centre.

However, there is still a great deal of work to be done, particularly in raising awareness. It’s important people realise that these offences can happen on our doorstep, right here in the North East, and we need to ensure people caught up in these terrible situations have access to the help and safety they need.”

– Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Dame Vera Baird QC