A new crackdown has been launched on North Wales companies involved in of modern day slavery and human trafficking.
North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones and Chief Constable Carl Foulkes have pledged to ensure the force acts ethically and does not buy goods or services from any businesses involved in the evil trade.
The crime-fighting duo have issued a Code of Practice with the police and crime commissioners and chief constables from the other three forces in Wales recognising their responsibilities as employers.
They also signed up to the Welsh Government’s Ethical Employment in Supply Chains Code of Practice two years ago
An action plan has been drawn up and procurement staff at North Wales Police have received training from the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply
Tackling modern day slavery and human trafficking is one of the main priorities in Mr Jones’ Police and Crime Plan.
In 2017 he funded the appointment of the UK’s first police support officer dedicated to helping victims of modern slavery.
Mr Jones said: “Modern slavery is a crime and a violation of fundamental human rights. It takes various forms, such as slavery, servitude, sexual exploitation, forced and compulsory labour and human trafficking, all of which have in common the deprivation of a person’s liberty by another in order to exploit them for personal or commercial gain.
“The Chief Constable and I are committed to ensuring that there is no modern slavery or human trafficking in the force supply chains or in any part of the business.
“The force’s policies and procedures demonstrate our commitment to acting ethically and with integrity in all its business relationships.
“Modern slavery and human trafficking are appalling and callous crimes which reach right into our society here in North Wales which is why I have made it one of my priorities in my Police and Crime Plan which sets the strategy for policing the area.
“It is a growing issue and the more resources we are able to put in, the more we are uncovering. Holyhead Port is a real challenge and we know people smuggling and labour exploitation are issues we need to urgently tackle and address.
“There are so many areas that are a concern whether it’s the fishing or cockling industries, car washes, agriculture or elsewhere. It’s a growing problem that many police forces are having to address.”
Chief Constable Foulkes said: “We will be implementing the Code of Practice across he force by focusing on four areas.
“In relation to enforcement, we will be improving intelligence gathering through compliance with code and promoting the development of ethical supply chains in the delivery of contracts for the police service.
“We need to ensure that all of Wales is working to a common policy with buy-in across the organisations impacting mainstream and day to day business and that people in Wales are not bystanders and report exploitation in all its forms
“The Social Value Policy 2017 includes an increased focus on the delivery of social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being through the way the force manages its procurement activity.
“Where appropriate, the Force will seek assurances from suppliers and potential suppliers through its tendering processes, that they have no knowledge of modern slavery within their organisations or supply chains.
“The force will expect that those suppliers take responsibility to seek similar assurances from their own supply chains.
“The police and crime commissioner and I are working towards the Living Wage Foundation living wage and the Welsh forces have agreed to develop an All Wales Whistle Blowing Policy with specific reference to the Code of Practice.
Anybody who has concerns about possible cases of modern slavery or human trafficking in North Wales should telephone 101 (or 999 in an Emergency), Modern Slavery Helpline on 0800 0121700 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.