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Police target modern slavery in week of action focused on multi-occupancy properties

Officers from Warwickshire Police joined forces with local authorities, social landlords and UK Border Agency to carry out checks on multi-occupancy houses across the county.

During the week long event, which started on 28 January, police from Safer Neighbourhood Teams and CID were looking for signs that occupants were victims of modern slavery or human trafficking.

Other agencies were reviewing health and safety practices, living conditions, tenancy breaches and immigration offences.

Nine properties, known as Houses of Multiple Occupancy (HMOs), were visited across the county. While no concerns around modern slavery were identified, local authority representatives identified issues at several properties.

Detective Inspector Dave Andrews, modern slavery lead for Warwickshire Police said: "While at the properties we spoke to occupants to check they were not being exploited by their employers or others. None of those we spoke to disclosed any offences and there was no immediate cause for concern on our part.

"However, we want to send out a clear warning to people who choose to exploit workers that we are working with partners and taking proactive steps to find you.

"As we have seen from a recent prosecution, modern slavery is happening in Warwickshire. It is important we are alert to the problem, and people looking out for the signs and reporting concerns to the police."

Modern Slavery awareness training was also provided to officers from safer neighbourhood teams across Warwickshire, equipping them to better spot the signs of Modern Slavery in their local communities.
 

Visits across county

Nuneaton and Bedworth

Three visits to HMOs and suspected unlicensed HMOs by police and local authority. Following a visit to a restaurant in Nuneaton the local authority gave advice on living conditions and will be conducting follow-up activity with the landlord. This visit was planned following concerns raised by local people.
 

Rugby

Four visits by police, local authority and social landlords. The local authority identified concerns at three of the properties and will be conducting follow-up activity.
 

Warwick District

Two visits by police, local authority and UK Border Agency to suspected unlicensed HMOs. Both properties were confirmed to be acting as HMOs with a total of 4 people living within these. Warwick District Council will be conducting follow up actions with the landlords concerned.

 

What is modern slavery?

In the UK, modern slavery is defined in the Modern Slavery Act 2015. It includes offences of slavery, servitude, forced or compulsory labour, and human trafficking.
 

How to report concerns around modern slavery

In the first instance call the police on 101. If someone is at immediate risk then dial 999.

You can also call the Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700.

Alternatively, information can be provided anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

 

Posted by Sam Cook, Communications Officer

Published 08/02/19