Part 4 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 sets out the role of the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner. The Commissioner's role is to encourage good practice in the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of slavery and human trafficking offences, as well as in the identification of victims.
The Commissioner is accountable through her strategic plan and annual reports, which the Secretary of State lays before Parliament, setting out the extent to which objectives and priorities are achieved.
Dame Sara Thornton DBE QPM is the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner responsible for encouraging good practice in the prevention and detection of modern slavery and the identification of victims. She was the first Chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council from 2015 to 2019.
Dame Sara joined the Metropolitan Police Service in 1986 and in 2000 transferred to Thames Valley Police on promotion to Assistant Chief Constable. Following four years as Deputy Chief Constable she was appointed Chief Constable in 2007. She contributed significantly to national policing during this time and was the national lead on intelligence, Vice-Chair of ACPO Terrorism and Allied Matters, Director of the Police National Assessment Centre and ACPO Vice-President.
Dame Sara is Chair of the Government Skills and Curriculum Unit Leadership Advisory Board. She is a member of the Royal College of Defence Studies, the Advisory Board for the Oxford University Centre for Criminology and a trustee and board member of the Police Foundation.
Dame Sara is a graduate of Durham University, also holding a Master of Studies (MSt) degree in Applied Criminology and Police Management from Cambridge University alongside honorary doctorates from Oxford Brookes University and Buckinghamshire New University. She is Honorary Professor in Modern Slavery at the Centre for the Study of International Slavery, University of Liverpool.
Dame Sara was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal in 2006 and made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2011. She was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2019. She has also been recognised with a Career Achievement Award from the Police Training Authority Trustees and the Sir Robert Peel Medal for Outstanding Leadership in Evidence-Based Policing. She is an honorary Air Commodore in the Royal Air Force supporting the work of the auxiliary police squadron.
“I am delighted to take up this crucial role as the UK’s Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner. I am determined to build on the good work of my predecessor and look forward to bringing my experience in policing, supporting victims of crime, to bear in this role.
Last year, a record number of nearly 7,000 potential victims of modern slavery were submitted to the National Referral Mechanism. The true number of victims of this crime is undoubtedly far higher, and I want to ensure that prevention of modern slavery and the provision of adequate support for all victims and survivors in the UK remains at the heart of our response.
I welcome the opportunity to work in collaboration with stakeholders across the sector as I drive the UK’s response to ending this cruel exploitation against the most vulnerable.”
Dame Sara Thornton DBE QPM, Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner