The Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland, Barry Coppinger, is warning people not to assume that trafficking does not happen on Teesside. It follows a Human Trafficking and Slavery Conference.
Representatives from the National Crime Agency, national charity Hope for Justice, the Gangmasters Licensing Authority and young people from Barnardos, all spoke about how human trafficking and slavery is hidden in communities. They said that trafficking can take many forms, including forced labour, domestic servitude, sexual exploitation, or for criminal means.
Cleveland Police has made three referrals to the UK Human Trafficking Centre this year after officers had identified two people who had been trafficked as cannabis farmers to run farms and a possible case of domestic servitude.
More than a hundred children in Hartlepool have been learning how the police go about solving crimes.
Primary school pupils put questions to the Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland, and acted out crime scenes for themselves.
Watch the full report from Rachel Sweeney below.
Children in Hartlepool have had an insight into the criminal system and a look at how to prevent crime.
The Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland Police is being grilled by more than one hundred primary school children this morning. They are asking Barry Coppinger what the force is doing to cut crime figures in the area.
A man has been jailed for stealing a mobile phone from one of the region's most important police bosses.
Barry Coppinger, Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner, was in a café in Middlesbrough before a meeting about retail crime when his mobile phone was taken out of his pocket.
He reported the theft to police, and an investigation began which included looking at the café’s CCTV footage.
A still was taken from the footage and placed on the Cleveland Police daily briefing pages, where a police officer recognised the man and arrested him. He was then charged with the theft.
The 32-year-old from London pleaded guilty to theft at Teesside Magistrates’ Court on Friday and was sentenced to eight weeks in prison.
The Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland Police has admitted it must apologise when mistakes are made.
Barry Coppinger was speaking after the Northern Echo published details of a 139-page Independent Police Complaints Commission report into events at the force.
The inquiry followed an investigation which saw Cleveland Police pay out £550,000 in compensation to lawyer James Watson for wrongful arrest.
Since details of Mr Watson's wrongful arrest pay-out emerged there has been criticism of a senior detective who he said had launched a vendetta against him.
That officer has retired, having reached 30 years service. Mr Watson said he should have been suspended.
Mr Coppinger said the force's insurance would be used to cover the cost of the settlement, and he said lessons had been learned.
At the launch of the new Police and Crime Plan for Cleveland, the PCC admitted the force faces challenging times with cuts to the budget and said he believed moving from the current headquarters to a cheaper alternative will go towards those savings.
In the year 2015-2016, savings of almost £5m have to be found.
Barry Coppinger is keen to move from the force's current HQ on Ladgate Lane in Middlesbrough as it is too expensive to run. The land would be sold for development.
Mr Coppinger said he is awaiting the findings of a report, due to be handed to him in the next few weeks, before making a final decision.
Despite facing budget cuts, Mr Coppinger told ITV News that protecting neighbourhoods remains a priority and he hopes to recruit more special constables.
Cleveland's Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) has pledged to develop neighbourhood policing and ensure a better deal for victims as part of his new policing plan.
The force has spent months consulting with communities to find out what they wanted to see as local priorities and has come up with five main objectives in its Police and Crime Plan. They are:
- Retain and develop neighbourhood policing
- Ensure a better deal for victims and witnesses
- Divert people from offending, focus on rehabilitation
- Develop better coordination, communication and partnership between agencies
- Work for better industrial and community relations
PCC for Cleveland, Barry Coppinger said: