Northumbria Police have joined forces with a leading convenience food manufacturer to help teach their staff how to spot the signs of modern day slavery.
Managers from Greencore Group plc, which has a manufacturing site and distribution depot in the North East, have teamed up with specialist officers from Northumbria Police’s safeguarding department to create a bespoke training video which will show new staff how to identify whether someone could be a victim of slavery, abuse, or in need of assistance.
Detective Constable Julie Milne, who features in the training video, said: “Modern Day Slavery is an absolutely appalling crime which no-one should ever be victim to. No-one likes to hear that slavery is happening in the communities that they live and work in, but turning a blind eye will not stop the problem.
“Because of the nature of these crimes, we as a Force rely on the general public informing us of their suspicions. We all have a role to play in spotting those tell-tale signs and ultimately helping us reach out to those who might be in need whenever we can.
“It is great that companies like Greencore are taking the time to recognise that this is an area where they can help and are developing training materials for their staff to ensure they know exactly what to look for and what to do, should they ever find themselves in a situation where they suspect someone is a victim of slavery, forced labour or human trafficking.
“As a Force, our absolute number one priority is to protect all those in our communities who find themselves vulnerable.”
Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Dame Vera Baird QC said: “Modern Day Slavery can take many forms from forced labour to human trafficking. It is an abhorrent crime which sees the perpetrators targeting the most vulnerable and it can often go unnoticed if people do not know how to spot the relevant signs.
“It is up to us to make sure the public is aware that this is happening here in the North East, and working in conjunction with partner agencies and the private sector, helps us educate people on the truly devastating impact this crime can have on those affected by it, and the importance of speaking out if you see something suspicious.
“It is encouraging to see companies like Greencore taking an active role in highlighting this important issue and making it a priority amongst their staff.”
Greencore UK HR Director Guy Dullage said: “Greencore strives to achieve a workplace free of modern slavery, and in support of this aim we have designed and implemented a comprehensive education programme for Greencore leaders, which will benefit all of our colleagues. This video forms an important element of this training and we are grateful for the participation of Detective Constable Julie Milne and support of Northumbria Police.”
We all have a role to play as so often with crimes like these, victims do not see themselves as victims and think what they are being subjected to is normal behaviour. We would urge any member of the public who have concerns to contact the modern day slavery helpline on 0800 0121 700, visit www.modernslaveryhelpline.org/report or call police on 101.