GMP recognised in HMICFRS report for efforts to tackle modern slavery and human trafficking
Greater Manchester Police has been named as a leading force for its response to modern slavery and human trafficking in a recent report inspecting all 43 UK forces, by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS).
As one of the only UK forces to have a dedicated unit tackling modern slavery and human trafficking, GMP has been recognised for closely working alongside partners, allowing for a high level of information and intelligence to be exchanged.
GMP has invested in training nearly 50 tactical advisers, providing 24 hour support in investigations. With responsibility for live cases, they work to guide investigators, ensuring all lines of enquiry are explored and opportunities to identify cases of modern slavery and human trafficking are utilised.
The partnership approach allows for information received from victims to be quickly fed into the Force’s intelligence systems, scanned on a daily basis, to identify patterns and links with other investigations. Most importantly, this provides the opportunity to safeguard and refer victims to the appropriate agencies as soon as possible.
Yesterday (23rd October) GMP and partners launched the “Trapped” campaign to raise awareness of criminals who are grooming and exploiting children and young adults to commit crime on their behalf.
The Force’s communications strategy around modern slavery and human trafficking was praised for its “wide-ranging internal and external campaigns” which included summits/conferences, a day of action, extensive use of social media and a multi-lingual approach to publications.
The report also highlights the work done by the Force to “promptly analyse and identify opportunities to disrupt criminality” allowing safeguarding measures to be put in place.
GMP Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said: “Modern slavery and human trafficking are just two of the complex and challenging crimes that we at Greater Manchester Police regularly deal with. It is therefore very pleasing to receive a good review from HMICFRS on the work we do to tackle these issues.
“It is often difficult to reach and engage with the victims of these crimes as the very nature of them means victims don’t believe they are being abused or taken advantage of. I am therefore very proud of my officers and staff whose tireless work has contributed to this positive review.
“A total of 137 crimes of modern slavery were recorded within 2016, compared with 87 in 2015 and 22 in 2014. To date, 104 crimes have been recorded in 2017. It is clear that people are now far more aware of the warning signs, and where they can report their suspicions and get help, resulting in this rise in figures.
“Our partnership work and co-location means that we are able to work quickly and effectively when new intelligence comes in, allowing us to disrupt the crime as soon as possible and provide support to any victims identified.
“We now have over 100 victim liaison officers (VLOs) who are assigned to each victim to act as their single point of contact throughout the investigative process. The VLOs help us to uphold our commitment to keeping victims’ welfare and safety as the priority of every investigation.
“The criminals behind these abhorrent crimes are part of serious and organised criminal gangs. They trade in fellow humans as they do in drugs, weapons and other criminal commodities. The victims of these crimes are some of the most vulnerable in our society and we are doing all we can to protect them and bring the offenders to justice to stop them spreading misery through their criminal behaviour in our communities.”
Hannah Flint from STOP THE TRAFFIK said: “We are delighted to have partnered with GMP to co-ordinate a network response to this serious issue.
“Recognising the vital role that community groups, faith networks, businesses and charities have to play in tackling Modern Slavery is key to reducing the impact of this crime. Without strong partnerships across all sectors of society, traffickers will continue to exploit vulnerable people, but together we can make it much harder for them to operate freely.”
Anyone with concerns either about themselves or somebody else should contact Greater Manchester Police on 101 in a non-emergency situation or report anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Always dial 999 when there is an immediate threat to life or a crime in progress.
Alternatively contact the Modern Slavery Helpline on 0800 0121 700.