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Police Take Part in Pilot Slavery Reporting Scheme

To mark National Anti-Slavery Day on 18 October, Dorset Police has announced they are one of the first forces in the UK to pilot a new Modern Slavery referral scheme. The new scheme involves suspected victims of human trafficking and slavery being referred and assessed at local level instead of centrally.  

The pilot scheme started on 3 August 2015. Previously, referrals were handled centrally by the UK Human Trafficking Centre and UK Visas and Immigration.

A review of the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) was undertaken in November 2014.  The review made a number of recommendations, aimed at improving and strengthening the framework, which are to be piloted in two areas: the South West region, which includes Dorset, and West Yorkshire.

The new scheme has established a central case management unit, multi-disciplinary decision-making panels and will introduce new Slavery Safeguarding Leads in the force from 1 November.

A number of individuals from the Police and Local Authority have already been identified as Slavery Safeguarding Leads in the pilot areas to accept referrals and make decisions on individuals as to whether they believe they are a victim of modern slavery.

Head of Major Crime, Detective Chief Inspector Stewart Balmer, said: “The police and other statutory agencies will have a key role in identifying, referring and supporting potential victims of human trafficking and modern slavery. 

“Slavery Safeguarding Leads will have a vital role in decision making on modern slavery cases.  They will be responsible for referring cases of potential victims for consideration by the regional multi-disciplinary panel. Upon referral the individual will gain access to immediate help and support.”

Slavery Safeguarding Leads will be established in all relevant public authorities in a region as well as in specified national agencies from 1November.  This will include:

  • the police
  • NHS
  • Local Authorities
  • Gangmasters Licensing Authority
  • Border Force
  • UK Visas and Immigration

Multi-disciplinary panels are comprised of representatives from relevant agencies, organisations and partners (local authorities, police, NHS, UK Visas and Immigration) with a relevant interest in modern slavery issues and in protecting vulnerable individuals.  Panels will be made up of between approximately 8-10 members.

Detective Chief Inspector Stewart Balmer continued: “To successfully launch and run the pilots all statutory agencies will need to play their part in safeguarding and protecting the vulnerable women, men and children who may be potential victims of modern slavery.” 

Dorset Police also encourages anyone who may have information relating to human trafficking or slavery to report to them on 101 or 999 in an emergency. Alternatively contact CrimeStoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.