Exmouth leads the way in tackling modern slavery - Minister for Crime visits town’s police unit

PUBLISHED: 15:30 08 November 2017

Exmouth Police Station

Exmouth Police Station

Archant

Sarah Newton, MP, was in Exmouth to learn more about the work of the police through the Modern Slavery Police Transformation Programme. The unit, in North Street, has already helped investigators make progress in the fight against modern slavery, bringing perpetrators to justice.

A new unit tackling modern slavery based at Exmouth police station has today been visited by the Minister for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability, .

The MP was in town to learn more about the work of the police through the Modern Slavery Police Transformation Programme.

Devon and Cornwall Police said the unit, in North Street, had already proved successful helping investigators to make progress in the fight against modern slavery, bringing perpetrators to justice.

Shaun Sawyer, National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) national policing lead for modern slavery and Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall Police, said: “I was honoured to welcome the minister for crime, safeguarding and vulnerability, Sarah Newton, to Exmouth today and to have the opportunity to show her how the unit is already having a positive impact on the police response to modern slavery.”

Chief Constable Sawyer added: “Here in Devon and Cornwall we had a successful prosecution which saw offenders sentenced for perverting the course of justice in connection to modern slavery.

“We believe this was the first trial of its kind and it was linked to the force’s first successful prosecution for human trafficking last year. The unit is able to extract the learnings from each investigation and share it with other police forces so that we can continue to improve how we tackle modern slavery.”

Last year, Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Alison Hernandez, and Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer approached the Home Secretary for support to improve gaps they had identified in the way in which the police tackled modern slavery.

They were granted £8.5 million from the national police transformation fund to deliver a response on behalf of all police forces in England and Wales.

PCC Alison Hernandez said: “Modern slavery affects communities across the UK.

“Exmouth has not been untouched by reports of slavery, but neither is it a focal point.

“The unit has been established here in order to make best use of our police estate. Brilliant investigators and police staff from all over the country with expertise in tackling trafficking have temporarily joined Devon and Cornwall to enable us to run this team of 70 people with minimal abstractions from our force.

“On any given day, the transformation unit will have staff working all over England and Wales, indeed some postings are as far afield as Europol. I

“’I’m hugely proud that Devon and Cornwall are leading in such an important national initiative.”

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