Police forces are failing to tackle modern slavery and human trafficking because the cases are too difficult and senior officers believe the public lack sympathy for the victims, a highly critical report has found.
Victims are not always identified and investigations are closed prematurely, the report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services said.
Failings in the approach left victims exposed and allowed perpetrators to continue to exploit the vulnerable, it added. In one case, the inspectorate was told: “The public view is, they are not our girls.”
Wendy Williams, the inspector of constabulary, said: “While modern slavery cases can be complex and require significant manpower, many of the shortcomings in investigating these cases reflect deficiencies in basic policing practice.
“We found inconsistent, even ineffective, identification of victims and investigations closed prematurely. As a result, victims were being left unprotected, leaving perpetrators free to continue to exploit people as commodities.”