Police use app to educate about modern slavery

23 December 2018, 09:05 | Updated: 23 December 2018, 09:14

Heddlu Police officer

North Wales Police is to roll out the Unseen App to provide a quick and easy resource to officers and staff.

North Wales is seeing a year on year rise in reported cases of Modern Day Slavery. 

During the last 12 months North Wales Police has received reports of sexual exploitation, forced labour, criminal exploitation and forced marriage.  Many of these reports include child victims, and as a result Modern Day Slavery has become a Force Priority. 

In order to provide the best possible response to the public of the area an awareness raising program has been undertaken for police officers and staff to educate them on the types of potential abuse they may encounter, signs to look for in victims and legislation available to assist prosecute offenders.

Sgt Richard Sidney explained: “The Unseen App perfectly complements the aims of this program, using a brief and clear format it details both physical and psychological signs to be aware of in victims and provides details of the environments they may be found in.  It also illustrates types of abuse and in the case of forced labour, the industries where abuse is most commonly found.” 

“The free App summarises legislation which assists law enforcement agencies, victims and commercial organisations and even provides a direct link to the government website which includes the legislation definitions.”

He added: “It’s a simple resource which utilises technology that is already in place so it is easy to implement. It is hoped that the App will assist in the continual process of awareness raising and education. I would encourage any organisation or business who provide smart devices to their work force to push the App out to each device to help raise awareness of this issue.”

Justine Currell, Unseen Director said: “Through downloading the Unseen App, North Wales Police has shown fantastic commitment and leadership in giving their frontline officers the tools they need to effectively identify and support some of the most vulnerable people in our society.  They are leading the way and we hope other forces follow suit.”

North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones said: "Tackling modern day slavery and human trafficking is a key priority in my Police and Crime Plan and as a result the force has put a great deal of resources into investigations and safeguarding the survivors.

"The Unseen App is a great idea that will help officers and staff in identifying cases of modern day slavery, as well as providing an important resource at their fingertips.

“It’s another example of North Wales leading the way in this important area of policing, following on from the appointment of UK's first police support officer dedicated to helping victims of modern slavery which I funded.

"Modern Slavery is often a hidden crime that is rarely reported by the victims themselves but are normally reported by third parties or discovered by police investigations.

"It is vital to increase public awareness so we are working hard with our partners to expose and tackle this issue, protect the people who are being exploited and bring offenders to justice.

“To do this we need the communities of North Wales to support us, to look out for evidence of it and to contact the police if they have concerns.”