Update on Bournemouth slavery offence investigation

A man, arrested on suspicion of slavery offences following a warrant executed in Bournemouth earlier this year, has been released without charge.

The warrant was executed at a business unit in Ringwood Road on Wednesday 26 March 2014 and six suspected male victims, aged between 20 and 30 years, were taken to a place of safety.

Following extensive interviews with the men working there and consultation with other agencies, it was ascertained that the offence of slavery had not taken place. As a result, the police will not be pursuing a prosecution and the 24-year-old Bournemouth man arrested on suspicion of this offence has been released from his bail.

Of the six men working at the premises, three chose to return to Romania and were supported in doing so by a national charity specialising in the repatriation of foreign nationals.

As part of the investigation, police have shared information with other government agencies who are examining other matters in relation to employment law and revenue and customs.

Detective Inspector Stewart Balmer, of the Major Crime Investigation Team, who led the operation said: “We carried out this operation in relation to genuine community concerns. The people working at the premises were not deemed to be trafficked, however, I am confident we did the right thing by acting on these concerns.

“While they were deemed not to be victims of slavery, there was a working regime in operation that is being reviewed by other agencies.”

Issued: 5 June 2014

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