Police have offered an insight into the investigation of modern slavery as a new serious and organised crime campaign is launched.
Dyfed-Powys Police officers have spoken about recent operations across the force, and urged people to look out for signs that someone could be a victim of slavery.
The force has launched INTACT, an education, engagement and enforcement campaign led by the Serious and Organised Crime Team, which will focus on a different area of crime each month, starting with modern day slavery.
Temporary Detective Sergeant Rob Claypole explained that officers work on active intelligence about potential slavery victims as part of ongoing operations and investigations. Potential victims are then spoken to away from their place of work or accommodation – and crucially, away from potential exploiters.
“You need to take potential victims away from the exploiters in order to gain their confidence and trust,” T/DS Claypole said.
“This allows us to triage the situation and assess whether we have victims of modern slavery at that location. If there are no victims identified, we have still acted positively and given potential victims an opportunity to be come forward or be identified. On the other hand, if it looks as if there is a potential slavery issue, we can look at getting the victim away from that situation long term.
“In recent operations, we also had support from the Salvation Army, medics and other support agencies.”
Modern slavery is a global problem and an international crime, affecting millions of people worldwide, including the UK. Men, women and children of all ages and backgrounds can fall victim to labour exploitation, being forced to work for little or no pay.
T/DS Claypole explained that in rural locations, labour exploitation can see people working for the exploiter but also living at the site. The risk to the victim is that if they give up the work, they lose their accommodation.
“We also look out for vulnerability and coercion, which is where the exploiter would find a victim who is vulnerable in some way – for example through being homeless or having an addiction,” he said.
“Once the victim has been identified, the exploiter moves onto coercion by offering something the victim needs – for example accommodation, alcohol or drugs in exchange for work.
“It can be very difficult for a victim to leave these sorts of situations as they fear they would lose the thing they need – be that somewhere to live, access to drugs, or their earnings.
“Based on previous operations, victims can often live in poor conditions, with no heating, hot water or electricity however they are willing to accept this as they consider this better than an alternative such as being homeless despite the conditions failing far below our expectations“
There are also situations where the victim might not be kept against their will, but has issues with identification which would make it difficult for them to find conventional work, or they might not want to be open about their situation.
“In these circumstances, it is very important to speak to the potential victim away from the potential exploiters and to gain their trust,” T/DS Claypole said.
“For example, one potential victim was spoken to by officers twice after concerns were shown, but they did not identify as a victim. However, when the person went to hospital, concerns were again raised.
“On speaking with police for a third time and on neutral ground, it was revealed that he was being paid next to nothing for six days’ work a week. As a foreign national he thought that was the best option he had, and so he stayed there out of desperation.
“He didn’t know any different, but after officers explained his situation wasn’t right he began to engage with us. I believe that if he had been spoken to at the place of his work and accommodation, he would once again have led officers to believe he was not a victim.
“Speaking with him in a different location gave him the chance to listen, understand and engage.”
What to look out for:
As part of INTACT, officers are encouraging people to look out for signs that someone could be a victim of labour exploitation:
- Showing signs of psychological or physical abuse. Appearing frightened, withdrawn or confused.
- No free movement, or always accompanied.
- Lack of protective equipment or suitable clothing, and no training to safely fulfil the requirements of the role.
- No access to their own documents, such as ID or their passport, with the employer having confiscated them.
- No contract, not paid National Minimum Wage or not paid at all.
- Forced to stay in accommodation – possibly overcrowded – provided by the employer, or living on site.
- Being transported to and from work, potentially with multiple people in one vehicle.
- Working particularly long hours.
How to report concerns:
If you have any concerns or suspicions of worker exploitation you should report them immediately.
You can contact:
The GLAA – 0800 432 0804 or 0115 959 7032 (outside office hours)
Police: Call 101, or in an emergency 999
Crimestoppers: 0800 555 111
Modern Slavery Helpline: 08000 121 700
Eight people have lost £58k in the last week to criminals in ‘courier fraud’ – with Llanelli area being hit hardest
Dyfed-Powys Police is investigating a growing number of reports of people posing as bank staff or police officers, as eight people have lost £58,000 to criminals in the last week alone due to ‘Courier Fraud’.
This increase is particularly prevalent in the Llanelli area.
DC Gareth Jordan from the Economic Crime Team said: “People posing as fake bank staff or police officers have been calling residents and persuading them their accounts have been compromised, then sending a courier to collect the money. This is known as Courier Fraud.
“In the past week alone we have seen eight people lose a significant amount of money between them, and it’s very distressing for those victims. We are asking friends and family to look out for those that could be vulnerable – talk to them about this scam, advise them to be vigilant, and report any suspicious calls.
“Please remember that police, or your bank, will never ask you to withdraw money or transfer it to a ‘safe’ account.”
Dyfed Powys Police warn that if someone is claiming to be a police officer asks you to withdraw money for safe keeping or that they’re investigating the bank staff, it’s a scam.
The police, or your bank, will never ask you to assist in an internal investigation. They will never ask you to reveal your full banking password or PIN either. Never hand your card over with the PIN number.
And the police will never send someone to your home to collect money, nor will they ask you to transfer funds out of your account.
Top Tips to protect yourself from fraudsters
Stop: Always take a moment to think before parting with your money or information – it could keep you safe.
Challenge: Could it be fake? It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
Protect: Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen victim to a scam and report it to the police.
Report suspicious emails to: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also report suspicious texts by forwarding the original message to 7726, which spells SPAM on your keypad.
Anyone who thinks they have fallen victim to a scammer should report it by calling 101, or Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040. For further advice and information on how to avoid being scammed visit www.actionfraud.police.uk.
Four men fined £6,000 for ‘barbaric’ illegal foul hook fishing
Four men caught using a barbaric and illegal fishing method by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) enforcement officers during patrols of the River Loughor, near Llanelli, have been fined a total of £6,000.
They each appeared before Llanelli Magistrates Court on 16 and 17 June and pleaded guilty to the offence of foul hooking – also known as snatching – which is prohibited under Section 1 of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975.
They were fined a total of £6,000 and ordered to pay £10,300 to NRW for investigation costs.
The men were caught by NRW fisheries enforcement officers who were undertaking riverbank patrols of the River Loughor in summer 2021, working to address and prevent the use of foul hook fishing.
Each fish caught using the foul hooking method had been snagged on its tail, back or flank. All fishing equipment and illegally caught fish were seized by NRW and later confiscated by the court.
Alun Thomas, Senior Fisheries Enforcement Officer for NRW, said: “Foul hook fishing is barbaric, unethical and illegal. This method of fishing is not only indiscriminate on what species or size fish that are killed, but also inflicts untold damage to unseen numbers of fish which are likely to die of their injuries soon after. This is often made worse by using deliberately tampered fishing lures.
“NRW’s Fisheries Enforcement Officers and police take these incidents seriously, as do the courts. Hopefully, the small minority of anglers considering using illegal fishing methods will take heed of the heavy fines issued by the courts.”
Romuald Krzysztof Biernacki of Dwyfor, Llanelli, was caught using the foul hooking method on 4 July 2021. He had illegally caught four mullets and six flounder fish.
Biernacki was fined £1,500 and made to pay part of NRW’s investigation costs of £2,500.
Hung Van Tran, travelled from his Gibson Road home in Handsworth, Birmingham, to fish on river Loughor on 25 August 2021. NRW fisheries enforcement officers discovered he had illegally caught four mullet fish using the foul hook method.
Hung Van Tran was fined £1,500 and ordered to pay part of NRW’s investigation costs of £1,800.
Duc Duy Tran of Brithweynydd, Tonypandy, and Tan Van Tran of Pentrebane Street, Caerphilly, were caught during another river patrol carried out by NRW fisheries enforcement officers accompanied by Dyfed-Powys Police’s Wildlife Crime Officer on 6 September 2021.
Duc Duy Tran had illegally caught 14 mullet fish and was fined £1,500. He must also pay £3,000 to NRW for investigation costs.
Tan Van Tran had illegally caught four mullet fish. He was fined £1,500, plus £3,000 to NRW for investigation costs.
Alun Thomas added: “We would like to thank Dyfed-Powys Police, the local community and law-abiding anglers in the area for their continued support in reporting these illegal fishing activities. I urge them to continue to report such activity and we will investigate.
“We would encourage anyone going fishing to familiarise themselves with the rules and regulations before going.”
(Lead image: Natural Resources Wales)
Man who filmed rape of Ammanford woman on victim’s phone jailed for 10 years
A man who filmed himself raping a woman on his victim’s phone has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Cameron Hassan, aged 31, of no fixed abode, attacked the woman, raping her as she slept in Ammanford on 21 August 2021.
Hassan, who was midway through his trial at Swansea Crown Court after denying any wrongdoing, changed his plea to guilty after the jury was shown the video of the attack.
He was back before Swansea Crown Court today and was sentenced to 10 years in prison .
Senior Investigating Officer DI Melanie Havard said the victim had shown great strength and determination throughout the investigation and trial.
“I must commend her tremendous courage in coming forward and the tenacity shown throughout the investigation,” she said.
“We appreciate this is not easy for anyone to do but the victim has expressed her gratitude to the officer in the case for her support and empathy throughout this process.
“We hope this case demonstrates that Dyfed-Powys Police acts on serious allegations such as rape and sexual assault with officers working tirelessly to secure justice for victims.
“If you are suffering because of similar abuse, please contact the police, or if you would rather speak to someone in confidence, New Pathways are an independent charity that will support you through every step of the investigation.”
New Pathways can be contacted at 01685 379 310 or email email@example.com
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