Introduction from Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer:
It is just under a year since Caroline Haughey’s review of the implementation of the Modern Slavery Act, based in part on interviews with over a hundred police investigators from across the country, made a number of recommendations to policing.
She identified the passion, skills and determination of some of our investigators, strategic leads and intelligence staff, but also highlighted that they faced systemic challenges in delivering the best service they could.
As national policing lead for modern slavery, my portfolio has been working with over 60 forces and law enforcement agencies to develop a support infrastructure to assist them to respond to these recommendations, funded via the Police Transformation Fund.
Over the next two years, every Force across England and Wales can access the support of the Modern Slavery Transformation Programme in areas such as accredited training, awareness raising, developing stronger local partnerships and in intelligence development activity.
Stronger central debriefing and intelligence flows will ensure that each of these hard won investigations can learn from those before it. Our collective understanding of good practice can evolve. Links between investigations – nationally and internationally – should be uncovered more readily.
There is a significant appetite for an evidence base to inform national and international activity, to shape the evolution of victim support services and to influence investment in prevention activity. Our wider reach will extend further through these means than it can through any individual investigation, so do take the time to actively share what you know with our teams.
Closer to home, we each have a role to play in ensuring victims are identified at their earliest encounter with the police service. In too many modern slavery cases their plight can be unnoticed. I encourage forces to promote awareness amongst frontline, intelligence and major crime investigators of the indicators of slavery. We must ensure all our staff understand they have a Duty To Notify (DTN) and that they can submit and respond to a referral via the National Referral Mechanism (NRM).