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Police given more time to question 8 over slavery offences

Police have been given another 36 hours to question eight people on suspicion of human trafficking offences.

Eight suspected victims from the Czech republic were found during raids in Plymouth and Bodmin earlier this week. The men have been taken to a reception centre and are being interviewed by specially trained officers. Five women and three men arrested during the raids are being held in Plymouth.

Eight arrested on suspicion of trafficking remain in custody

Eight arrested on suspicion of human trafficking and slavery remain in custody Credit: ITV West Country

Eight people arrested yesterday in connection with an investigation into slavery and human trafficking remain in custody. Police say they've now completed their searches of all of the addresses.

Police arrested eight people, five women and three men, on suspicion of trafficking people into the UK for the purpose of labour exploitation and on suspicion of money laundering.

Eight men, all suspected victims of human trafficking and Czech nationals, were recovered to safety and have been taken to a reception centre. Thirteen children, thought to be linked to the suspects, were found at the addresses by police and social services and have now been taken to a place of safety.

The simultaneous raids were part of Operation Triage, the largest operation of its kind carried out by Devon and Cornwall Police and partner agencies into adult labour exploitation.

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100 police involved in dawn raids to rescue victims of modern slavery

Eight suspected victims of slavery have been freed from alleged captivity - following a series of police raids in Plymouth.

More than 100 police officers were involved in this morning's operation. It's taken six months of undercover work and planning to put "Operation Triage" into action, the first major operation against modern slavery in the region. 200 people from twelve different agencies have been involved.

Officers went in just after dawn this morning to rescue eight men they believe have been used as slave labour. They were coerced into working as long as eighteen hours a day for nothing but food and somewhere to live.

The victims are Czech nationals, living and working here quite legally, but threats and intimidation have made them frightened by police and authority figures.

It's thought the gang involved forced them to commit criminal acts so they had an extra hold over them, including shop-lifting and illegally claiming benefits which went straight to the gang.

Quite often the victims will have an inherent distrust of law enforcement agencies, primarily from experiences they have had in their home country. They may well have been involved in a level of criminality under coercion when they came into the country which obviously makes them reluctant to talk to the police because they think they will be prosecuted for that kind of criminality.

– Det Supt Jim Colwell, trafficking and slavery specialist

Police rescue seven men in modern slavery raids

Police rescue seven in dawn raids Credit: ITV West Country

Police raided six properties in Plymouth and Bodmin this morning to rescue seven men thought to be held as modern slaves.

Eight people were arrested in the co-ordinated dawn raids. Twelve agencies were involved in the culmination of six months undercover work. The rescued men, all from the Czech Republic, had been forced to work up to 18 hours a day without pay, and were given poor accommodation and food as their only reward.

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Devon and Cornwall Police front desk closures

Devon and Cornwall Police have announced plans to close 11 Public Enquiry Offices across the region. There will be a consultation, and changes are expected to take place later in the year.

If the proposals go ahead these towns across Devon and Cornwall will lose their Public Enquiry Offices:

  • Totnes
  • Tiverton
  • Exmouth
  • Okehampton
  • Newton Abbot
  • Honiton
  • Falmouth
  • Penzance
  • Bude
  • Liskeard
  • Launceston

Devon and Cornwall Police to close 11 enquiry desks

Devon and Cornwall Police close 11 enquiry desks Credit: PA Still

Devon and Cornwall Police have revealed plans to close eleven enquiry desks.

The force says it'll save them around three quarters of a million pounds. Twenty seven job roles will also be lost. It's now going to consult with staff unions before making a final decision.

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