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The West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner has reaffirmed his commitment to supporting victims of modern slavery, and ensuring West Mercia Police have the resources to tackle this emerging crime type.

A report today released by the HMICFRS showed that whilst there are signs of progress in policing modern slavery, there are still failures nationally to recognise these crimes and protect victims adequately.

In West Mercia, the number of modern slavery referrals has increased showing that the force responded to the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and improved it’s identification of victims. A number of measures have been put in place both locally and nationally to respond operationally and raise awareness.

Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion said “The degrading and dehumanising way in which victims of modern slavery are treated is not acceptable in modern society, and we must do all we can as communities to put an end to this.

Whilst I am reassured by the force’s response, I will ensure they have the resources to build on what they have already achieved to continually make improvements. I promised to put victims at the heart of everything we do, and I am delivering on this promise, by ensuring their specific needs are addressed, and they get the support they need to speak out with confidence to the police”

Detective Inspector Steven Fitzpatrick from West Mercia Police said: “We work closely with the National Crime Agency, The Modern Slavery National Police Transformation Programme and the Regional Organised Crime Unit to ensure that when victims of modern slavery or human trafficking are identified, or a crime is reported and investigated, they receive the appropriate protection and support utilising the National Referral Mechanism.

“Police officers and staff have received training designed to raise awareness of human trafficking. Social media campaigns have raised awareness with the public to recognise the signs of trafficking and slavery and report it.

“Tackling modern slavery and human trafficking is a priority and we will continue to work with partner agencies to identify and support victims of human trafficking and seek the prosecution of those responsible.”

If you believe either yourself, or someone you know, is being exploited please do not suffer in silence. If you come across anything which alerts your suspicion, or are aware of an individual who seems controlled, scared or vulnerable or being forced to work against their will, please call police on 101 or call the Modern Day Slavery helpline on 08000 121 700 or via the Modern Slavery Helpline website

For more information on the HMICFRS report click here

Issued: Tuesday 24th October 2017