On Monday 30 October 2017, Cumberland Lodge will be hosting a cross-sector seminar with 50 police leaders and policing stakeholders at the House of Commons, to explore ways of enhancing the UK’s strategy for countering modern slavery.

The event will be chaired by Chief Constable Sara Thornton, chair of the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC). It follows on from the conference on 'Eliminating Slavery: Enhancing the Police Response', held at Cumberland Lodge in April 2017.

The conference explored the scale and nature of modern slavery in the UK, the political will to prevent, protect and prosecute, the scope of the Modern Slavery Act, and ways of enhancing existing responses through intelligence policing, putting victims first and promoting multi-agency partnerships.

Aims and objectives

The follow-up seminar aims to take the key learning points, outstanding actions and recommendations from the conference directly to leaders and influencers in Westminster. 

It will be attended by Police and Crime Commissioners, frontline officers, parliamentarians, senior representatives from the Home Office and Cabinet Office, NGO leaders and academics.

The discussion will open with short addresses from:

  • Chief Constable Sara Thornton, Chair, NPCC

  • The Rt Rev Alastair Redfern, Independent Chair of the Anti-Slavery Commissioner’s Advisory Panel

  • Sarah Newton MP, Minister for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability, Home Office

  • Will Kerr OBE, Director of Vulnerabilities, National Crime Agency

  • Major Anne Reid, Director of Anti-Trafficking and Modern Slavery, The Salvation Army.

It will take place under the Chatham House Rule, to promote constructive dialogue and the free exchange of views.

The discussion will focus on:

  • Understanding of the scale and nature of modern slavery within the UK

  • The political will to prevent, protect, prosecute 

  • Strengthening the Modern Slavery Act

  • Enhancing existing responses through intelligence policing

  • Putting victims first and promoting multi-agency partnerships.

'Much to be done'

Speaking ahead of the event, Sara Thornton said, ‘Modern slavery and human trafficking is a global challenge which we are determined to tackle in this country. Since the Modern Slavery Act was passed in 2015 we have been developing a response at force, regional and national level.  

‘There is still much to be done but our work with Cumberland Lodge contributes effectively to the raising of awareness and the sharing of good practice.’ 

Minister for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability, Sarah Newton MP, said, ‘Modern slavery is a barbaric crime which destroys the lives of some of the most vulnerable in our society. The Government has been clear that the welfare of victims and potential victims is at the heart of everything we do.

‘Reforms to the National Referral Mechanism announced last week were a major step forward in improving support of victims. The 2015 Modern Slavery Act has given law enforcement the powers they need to tackle this crime.

‘We will continue to work with police and stakeholders to ensure more victims are identified and get the help they need and those who carry out these horrendous crimes are brought to justice.’

'Sharing intelligence, knowledge and best practice'

Will Kerr added, ‘Targeting modern slavery has rightly been made a priority across law enforcement. This year the NCA has co-ordinated an increase in operational and safeguarding activity across the UK, meaning the intelligence picture has significantly improved.

‘This is a crime which seeks out the most vulnerable in our society. We know the number of victims to be far greater than previously thought and the onus remains on us to seek them out.

‘It’s important that we continue to come together to have these conversations, sharing intelligence, knowledge and best practice, to ensure that victims receive the best support and care.’

The UK’s independent anti-slavery commissioner, Kevin Hyland, who is due to attend, recently said that the number of people living in slavery in the UK is likely to be considerably higher than the current estimate of 13,000, and last year, Prime Minister Theresa May described modern slavery as ‘the great human rights issue of our time’ and called for practitioners and organisations to work together to stamp it out.

Find out more

Find out more about our annual Police Conference and our work on policing and criminal justice, here.

The summary report from our April conference on modern slavery can be downloaded here.

This event is part of our Freedom series of interdisciplinary conferences, seminars, retreats and other educational activities for 2017/18.