It is well understood that policing cannot be expected to either prevent or respond effectively to modern slavery alone. That’s where police and crime commissioners are well placed to support and act as a catalyst for local and regional responses from a range of local partners, including the police.
In January 2016, Mark Burns-Williamson, the PCC for West Yorkshire and the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners' national lead for modern slavery and human trafficking established a forum through which PCCs influence and keep up to date with the latest national developments.
The forum is called the National Anti-Trafficking and Modern Slavery Network (NATMSN) and members of the group meet regularly with representatives of the Home Office, the Independent Anti-slavery Commissioner, police and law enforcement agencies. Co-ordination of the NATMSN network is supported by the Modern Slavery Police Transformation Programme. The aim is to help PCCs nationally to share best practice in terms of prevention activity and the local delivery of the national police action plan on modern slavery.
OPCC activity in awareness-raising and outreach work
Police and Crime Commissioners have already undertaken a significant amount work raising awareness of modern slavery amongst community safety partnerships, faith groups and local businesses. Other targeted activity has also included communications programmes to contact at risk and vulnerable members of the public who could fall prey to exploiters.
Further activity to be supported by the Modern Slavery Police Transformation Programme will see PCCs working with regional co-ordinators and police forces on further awareness raising or thematic events. A specific focus for 2018/19 will be on the organisation of events to engage businesses and employers. In addition there will be continuing work to target community representatives, front-line workers and groups who are considered vulnerable to exploitation.
PCC Modern Slavery Toolkit
A new intitiative being co-ordinated by the Devon & Cornwall PCC is the development of a modern slavery toolkit for PCCs. The toolkit will provide valuable strategic guidance to ensure PCC are able to draw on proven best practice methods to tackle modern slavery, based on a range of partner experience.
Development of new national initiatives
Through this work it is expected that new national programmes may emerge. This would be programmes of potential partner activity that have proven to be effective in individual policing areas and that have the potential to be scaled up either regionally or nationally.