Public urged to help police tackle modern slavery in Norfolk

One of the Norfolk Police vans carrying the modern slavery helpline number. PIC: Supplied by OPCCN.

One of the Norfolk Police vans carrying the modern slavery helpline number. PIC: Supplied by OPCCN. - Credit: Archant

Members of the public are being urged to keep their eyes and ears open to help recognise the signs of modern slavery - and prevent people from becoming victims of exploitation.

Norfolk Police is using specially liveried vehicles in a bid to help raise awareness of modern slavery following funding from the Office for the Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk.

The vans, which can be seen across the county, also carry the number of the national Modern Slavery Helpline (08000 121 700) to encourage people to report any concerns or seek free and confidential help and advice.

It follows a number of successful pilots across the country including in Lancashire, Devon and Cornwall where police vehicles have been used to promote modern slavery awareness.

Lorne Green, Norfolk’s police and crime commissioner, said: “Modern day slavery is a reality here in Norfolk. These are vulnerable people living in our communities, people who are often too frightened to speak out.

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“A significant priority for us is rescuing and referring victims: making sure people being exploited by organised criminals receive the help and support they need and deserve.

“However, we cannot do this alone – together we can all help make a difference.

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“We are asking the public to be the eyes and ears of their local community, particularly in the current climate, to help identify where such exploitation is taking place to help prevent such a ‘hidden’ crime which is traditionally under-reported and, crucially, to support those who are victims.”

Detective Superintendent Andy Coller, head of safeguarding at Norfolk Constabulary, added: “Modern slavery impacts on vulnerable people and partnership working is key to combating this terrible crime in Norfolk. We would urge anyone who feels there are hidden victims being exploited, during the Covid pandemic lockdown and beyond, to call the police or the Modern Slavery Helpline number displayed on our vehicles.”

The awareness initiative is one of a number funded by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk (OPCCN) to help tackle modern slavery and criminal exploitation in the county.

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