Hampshire Police officers carryout lorry spot checks to tackle human trafficking

HAMPSHIRE Constabulary have been carrying out lorry checks to clamp down on the smuggling of illegal immigrants.

Monday, 26th April 2021, 7:57 pm

On Friday (April 23) the Organised Immigration Crime Team searched 38 heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) at Fleet Services with the aim of disrupting ‘organised immigration crime on the Hampshire strategic road network’.

Specially trained officers were joined by the Modern Slavery Organised Immigration Crime Unit and Roads Policing Unit on the M3 northbound services. The joint operation carried out spot checks to tackle the problem of human trafficking.

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Hampshire Constabulary check lorries for human trafficking. Photograph: Hampshire Constabulary

A statement from Hampshire Constabulary said: ‘The most common clandestine ways for migrants to enter the UK are in lorries or other commercial vehicles transported by rail or ferry, in commercial shipping containers, or in small boats.

‘Organised gangs frequently smuggle people in hard-sided lorries. More opportunist smuggling tends to be in soft-sided lorries but most methods of transport subject migrants to significant personal risk.’

While no people were found being smuggled in the lorries, four penalties to the value of £20,700 were issued due to lorries not meeting security regulations.

The initiative was also used as an opportunity to educate drivers of haulier companies coming from overseas to the UK on how to implement better security in order to ‘restrict clandestine entry and disrupt organised crime gangs’.

The statement added: ‘It is important to remember that those who are smuggled are then often forced into modern slavery and other crime, having been promised a better life in the UK and forced to pay large amounts of money to get here, to organised crime gangs.‘There are also serious penalties for those caught helping to smuggle people into the UK in the back of lorries. They could be arrested and investigated and their employer could face substantial fines for not having appropriate security.’

Anyone who thinks there may be people trapped in a lorry are urged to contact the police on 999 as ‘lives could be at risk’.

In December last year two men were found guilty of the manslaughter of 39 Vietnamese immigrants who died from suffocation in the back of a lorry in Essex.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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