In 2015 it was identified that police forces in England and Wales had an inconsistent structure in place to support officers dealing with cases connected to modern slavery. And even those that had more direct experience in cases involving the trafficking and exploitation of victims had little in terms of embedded processes in place. Instead knowledge in dealing with modern slavery would often have been limited to officers who happened to have greater personal experience of these types of cases.
- the Modern Slavery Act 2015 has come into place,
- the NPCC Modern Slavery portfolio has produced a national action plan that has been shared across police forces in England & Wales, and;
- the Modern Slavery Police Transformation programme was established to share good practice on how to respond to modern slavery at a force level, as well as providing further input on the national picture. This continues with the Modern Slavery and Organised Immigration Crime Unit
The national policing action plan for modern slavery was refreshed in January 2018 and has been designed in line with HMICFRS recommendations and experiences of forces that have succeeded in tackling the issue. The modern slavery action plan runs to almost 50 activities and processes. As such it provides a ‘route map’ for forces in ensuring that good practice exists in governance and oversight, understanding the local threat, responding to victims and achieving high quality investigations is fully embedded within force operating procedures.
The activities are grouped into five main process areas. These relate to:
- Leadership and governance;
- Recording, reporting and use of intelligence;
- Victim safeguarding;
- Investigation and;
- Officer and staff training.
The team of Modern Slavery and OIC Regional Coordinators has worked with modern slavery single points of contact within forces to review progress in the implementation of action plan locally. Chief constables, chief officers and PCCs have also been involved in engagement events where progress on modern slavery has been and key focus for discussion.