Warwickshire Police becomes first force in the West Midlands to implement Modern Slavery Victim Liaison Officers (MS-VLOs)
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Warwickshire Police has become the first force in the West Midlands and one of a small number of forces nationally to implement the role of Modern Slavery Victim Liaison Officers (MS-VLOs) into its policing teams.
Originally developed by Greater Manchester Police in 2015, this role is intended to provide a more appropriate and effective level of victim focused service to any victims or potential victims of modern slavery that are identified by the police.
This year Warwickshire Police elected to improve their service to modern slavery victims by implementing VLOs into their policing to secure the trust, confidence and co-operation of victims or potential victims and to also ensure their safeguarding, securing a positive outcome for them, and providing them with the wrap around support needed.
The VLO can also act as the single point of contact for the victim or potential victim involved in the early stages of a police investigation, providing appropriate guidance and information around the police procedures and processes.
With support from the West Midlands Anti-Slavery Network and the National Crime Agency, Warwickshire Police has now trained fourteen officers to fulfil the VLO role. These officers undertook three-day training programmes in autumn which featured a broad range of subject areas including modern slavery legislation, crime recording, spotting the signs and indicators, providing trauma informed victim care and guidance around the National Referral Mechanism (NRM).
Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Lead for Warwickshire Police, Detective Inspector Dave Andrews said: “The VLO role will complement our increased number of specially trained Modern Slavery Specialist Investigators to not only raise awareness of modern slavery and human trafficking within our local policing teams but also in our communities, while enabling us to provide a more effective initial response to incidents involving victims or potential victims of modern slavery.
“We continue to work closely with our partners to ensure that any victims identified in Warwickshire are given the best possible support, and by having these newly trained VLOs, we will be able to offer a heightened service to ensure they get the necessary support and safeguarding they need.”