Police chiefs and officers from across the UK are meeting at Cumberland Lodge  this weekend, for a conference on ‘Eliminating Slavery: Enhancing the Police Response’.

The event will address the pressing issue of slavery in 21st century Britain and the implications and priorities for policing. It has been organised by a steering committee chaired by Sara Thornton CBE, QPM, chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council.

Speakers include:

  • PCC Mark Burns-Williamson (Chair, National Anti-Trafficking and Modern Slavery Network)
  • Caroline Haughey (author of The Modern Slavery Act Review)
  • Kevin Hyland OBE (Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner)
  • Fiona MacTaggart MP (MP for Slough)
  • Alastair Redfern (Lord Bishop of Derby)
  • Andrew Wallis (Chief Executive, UNSEEN).

Delegates will explore the nature and extent of the problem, public perceptions of slavery, and case studies of successful interventions and prosecutions.

They will also look at opportunities for effective multi-agency working to tackle slavery, and the wider, international context to slavery and trafficking.

'Not a matter for our history books'

Sara Thornton commented: “The abolition of slavery is not a matter for our history books but is a modern abuse of our fellow human beings. Policing has an important role to play in the elimination of modern slavery but needs to do so in partnership with a wide range of organisations.

"This weekend we will be exploring progress and challenges in the special setting of Cumberland Lodge.”

Slavery is a pressing issue for modern policing. An estimated 45 million people live in slavery around the world, which compares to about 12 million at the height of the slave trade of the 18th and 19th centuries.

In the UK, 2015 figures suggest that there are an estimated 10,000 to 13,000 victims of modern slavery.

'Timely and relevant'

Jane Furniss CBE, former Chief Executive of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (2006-2013), a non-executive director on the board of the National Crime Agency and one of our Trustees, added: “The annual Cumberland Lodge police conference is always stimulating and thought-provoking, attracting leaders and thinkers in the police service and partner agencies. This year's event on modern slavery and how the police service can improve its response is both timely and relevant to this growing global tragedy.

“Cumberland Lodge will provide a safe environment for challenging discussions and disagreements, and I’m sure that participants will leave refreshed and with renewed vigour for the work ahead.”

Shortly after taking up office, Prime Minister Theresa May urged international leaders and organisations to work together to stamp out modern slavery worldwide.

The conference is our 36th annual police conference. Find out more about it, and find a full list of speakers, here.