A first class law enforcement and criminal justice response to modern slavery requires a trained and prepared police force and judiciary. The Modern Slavery Act has given law enforcement and prosecutors new tools to tackle modern slavery; it is now essential that they know how to utilise these tools to their full effect. High quality training is therefore of utmost importance.
The Commissioner has had concerns that not enough was being done by law enforcement to deliver training to its staff and ensure an understanding across the board. From crime recording, to risk and prevention orders, some forces were responding with a high standard, while others were unaware of the tasks to complete and the tools available.
The Commissioner has therefore called for training at all levels of policing, as well as for the judiciary, in order to ensure consistent capacity building and a professional response to this serious crime.
The Commissioner identified the need for comprehensive training of the judiciary in order to boost understanding of the crime and in turn appropriately preside in modern slavery cases. The Commissioner therefore initiated a partnership with the International Bar Association (IBA) and the Judicial College, resulting in the development of a modern slavery and human trafficking training programme, completed by 1,500 members of the Judiciary in spring 2017.
In addition, supported by the IBA, the Commissioner gave assistance to raising awareness of the National Crime Agency (NCA) and police officers across eleven police forces in England and Wales. This was done through three pilot awareness raising sessions which focused on the investigation of offences.
Police forces have stepped up their efforts in responding to modern slavery and developed innovative methods to increase the level of understanding among staff. However, while training has increased, the Commissioner believes all training should meet the College of Policing’s standards in order to ensure consistency and allow for monitoring and evaluation of training material.