A unique and trail blazing approach to tackling modern slavery is set to crank up the heat on those who exploit people through business activities and supply chains.
Seven Police and Crime Commissioners and their respective Chief Constables have each worked together to develop a Modern Slavery Transparency in Supply Chains (TISC) Statement.
From Sunday 18 October, which is UK Anti-Slavery Day, West Yorkshire, North Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Humberside, Cleveland, Durham and Northumbria counties will operate according to this single vision.
It is a collaborative and voluntary commitment, not just to examine policing businesses and supply chains for modern slavery, but also to tackle modern slavery as a whole.
Led by West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Mark Burns-Williamson OBE as the national APCC lead for modern slavery and human trafficking, it has taken a number of months to develop and prepare.
PCC Mark Burns-Williamson says it demonstrates a true sign of shared intent and a positive example to others.
PCC Mark Burns-Williamson said: “We know from the academic work and various national reports on the theme of modern slavery that exploitation through business activities and supply chains remains an ongoing problem that can often be hidden from plain sight.
“As public bodies charged with addressing and detecting these despicable crimes within our communities, it is absolutely right and critical that we all lead by example. Only by scratching the surface, asking questions and proactively exploring the avenues of our business, can we properly address the issue of malpractice or exploitation within supply chains.
“Each of the Police and Crime Commissioner’s and Forces involved recognise this fact and acknowledge the importance of having a consistent approach that can make a tangible difference through our procurement processes which are well established within the region.
“The recent annual report from the national Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, Dame Sara Thornton, for instance, underlined the importance of leadership and co-ordination in affecting change and this collective TISC Statement of intent is a great example of that. It outlines exactly how we are going to collectively achieve our goals and in addition, we will gather data via a supplier engagement tool that will inform an evolving action plan.
“Not only will this set the benchmark for other public sector organisations, but it will send out a clear message to those in the commercial and private sector as well in doing the right thing at a time of uncertainty for many.
“Already the Modern Slavery Organised Immigration Crime Programme (MSOICP) have realised its potential value and requested that we work alongside them to support and develop national best practice for the Home Office, which is exactly the sort of catalyst we want to create.”
Acting Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland, Lisa Oldroyd, said: “A significant amount of work has gone into creating this statement, which we hope will stand as a blueprint for other organisations who want to eradicate exploitation from their supply chain.
“Through Cleveland Anti-Slavery Network, work has already started on developing and implementing a local action plan, which includes plans to influence other local public sector organisations to follow our lead.
“This work complements our ground-breaking victim care pathway, which has already been used in Cleveland to provide emergency support for those rescued from exploitative situations.
“We’ll continue to work with partners to develop support for victims of exploitation and encourage criminal justice outcomes for perpetrators.”
Safeguarding Chief Inspector Deb Fenny said: “We are committed to uncovering and tackling modern slavery in all its forms.
“The work carried out by colleagues in procurement gives us a clear framework to scrutinise our supply chain and stop those who seek to profit from exploiting the most vulnerable.”
To report a suspicion or seek advice, call the Modern Slavery Helpline on 0800 0121 700 or visit the webpage for further information and advice Modernslaveryhelpline.org