County is a ‘hostile place’ for those behind modern slavery

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A SENIOR detective has said the county’s force is a ‘hostile place’ for those behind modern slavery.

It comes as a police watchdog warned in the UK there was ‘inconsistent, even ineffective, identification of victims and investigations closed prematurely’.

HMICFRS, which published a report yesterday on modern slavery, said some victims were unprotected, leaving perpetrators to exploit others.

Hampshire Constabulary Modern Slavery lead Detective Superintendent Scott MacKechnie said: ‘Awareness raising is key to making Hampshire and the Isle of Wight a hostile place for perpetrators and a supportive place for victims.’

The county launched the Modern Slavery Partnership in 2015, with arrests made in Portsmouth last month. Figures show Hampshire police referred 21 victims in 2014 to a national scheme, eight in 2015 and seven in 2016.

Also in 2016 the force identified 13 others who did not want to enter referral mechanism.