Speaking after giving evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee as part of its Modern Slavery inquiry, Mr Burns-Williamson said:
“Whilst there has been substantial progress in tackling modern slavery and human trafficking, there is clearly more that needs to be done and I welcomed the opportunity to set out how PCCs are working with policing partners and others to help reduce such abuses and criminality in safeguarding victims as part of the national network of PCCs which I Chair.
“The needs of the victim and survivors must be central to any response. There are significant complexities in how we tackle modern slavery, investigations are often extremely resource and time intensive, many victims don’t speak English and some don’t even realise they are being exploited. We need continue to develop our skills and understanding in this area to ensure that there is adequate support throughout, safeguarding, supporting and reducing victims’ vulnerability through sustained support.
“There also needs to be greater clarification on the roles of other organisations, in particular local authorities (LAs), health and other statutory bodies. It is only through coordinated partnership working with policing partners and non-governmental organisations such as charitable and third sector groups that we can make the difference in providing better victims services and also increasing the chances of successful prosecution for those behind human trafficking and criminal exploitation.
“As the directly elected voice of local communities in the delivery of policing and community safety, PCC’s have a key role in leading this action and driving it forward; using their commissioning power and local leverage to encourage partner agencies to improve their own response as part of local and regional partnerships.”