Tackling modern slavery
Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking have come more to the forefront during the current term of office and the Police & Crime Commissioner (PCC) added this commitment to ensure sufficient focus was placed on such crimes locally.
The PCC is represented at the Dorset Anti-Slavery Partnership (ASP), which is the main body responsible for tackling modern slavery and human trafficking and links with regional colleagues – particularly the Regional Organised Crime Unit overseeing the policing response across the South West.
In terms of awareness raising, the PCC provided funding toward a successful conference in 2017 organised by the former Borough of Poole council.
The National Anti-Trafficking and Modern Slavery Network (NATMSN) also offers PCCs the opportunity to bid for small amounts of funding to support local work. The Commissioner has been successful with three bids, including:
- Money for the Borough of Poole to carry out follow-up training and information sessions for agencies and staff who attended the 2017 conference.
- Funds to deliver training for staff of the former Weymouth and Portland Borough Council in 2018 to raise awareness and understanding of modern slavery issues.
- A successful bid in 2019 on behalf of the Dorset Anti-Slavery Partnership to develop a training package for ‘gig’ economy and transient labour employers.
The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner has been engaged with NATMSN in the development of a national PCC Modern Slavery Toolkit which has now been finalised and published, assisting PCC’s in their scrutiny function for this area of policing and community safety. More recently, the Commissioner has also agreed to provide funding towards the running of a national Modern Slavery helpline, delivered by the specialist charity Unseen.
In addition, Dorset Police are actively engaged in specific operations such as Op Aidant, co-ordinated by the National Crime Agency (NCA) but implemented locally with specific weeks of action. In January/February 2019 this focused on labour exploitation through the agricultural and fisheries industries.