Posted: Monday 29th October 2018
Modern slavery is happening in Avon and Somerset. It’s happening in Bristol, it’s happening across our cities, towns, in fields and behind closed doors. It’s around us, if we really look.
Over the coming week’s we’re raising awareness of modern slavery. We’re calling on you to be more aware of things happening around you, where too often the signs of modern slavery are present but go unrecognised.. The campaign, called #TellUsWhatYouSee, aims to educate people on the signs and indicators of various forms of Modern Day Slavery, and how to report it in order to help tackle this crime, find out more on the Avon and Somerset Police website and social media channel.
In our area we’ve seen a 78% increase in intelligence reporting over the past two years, receiving a total of 245 pieces of intelligence. There’s been over 400 pieces of intelligence already this year. All this has been partly helped by last year’s high profile nail painting campaign and media attention but also some great police work. While the increase is positive and we’ve got better awareness of modern slavery in nail bars and car washes, there are still many forms of lesser-known modern slavery going on, in neighbourhoods and local communities around us.
Reports of criminal exploitation and domestic servitude are lesser known, and it’s happening behind closed doors in some of our streets. The police are keen to hear from anyone who suspects domestic servitude is happening. Some of the signs to look out for include an individual who is not only responsible for children 24 hours a day, but also for the cleaning or day–to-day housework and is never allowed to leave home alone. I urge everyone to use their voice to speak up for those who can’t. Be vigilant, know how to spot the signs and, most importantly, report your suspicion if you believe someone’s at risk. You can report either direct to police or through the Modern Slavery Helpline 08000 121 700.
This week, I have joined with my fellow Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) from across the country in raising our concerns about the impact of changes by the Government to pension contributions for policing. An unexpected announcement from the Treasury that greater contributions will be funded locally from individual police forces will put a detrimental hole in policing funding. We know that it is estimated that this additional cost nationally will be £165m in 2019/20 and equivalent to the loss of 4,000 police officers. The full cost of £417m in 2020/21 equates to the loss of 10,000 police officers across the country. If the changes go ahead the impact locally is significant. I believe that police officers should receive fair pensions for the job that they do and the risks that they take to keep us all safe. However this unexpected change by the Government to a bill that the Treasury should be responsible for should not be landing on the door of local taxpayers and I will do all I can to support my colleagues in lobbying the Government, the Treasury and the Home Office to see sense. I will also be calling on the support of all our local MPs in raising this issue further.