Leaders in policing and safeguarding gathered in Carmarthen on Friday, as Dyfed-Powys Police plays host to an event to share experience and learning about the prevalence of modern slavery incidents in the UK.

Despite there being legislation in place informing the response to modern slavery and the human trafficking agenda, there is no legislative driver requiring the civil contingencies community to plan for large scale tragedies relating these crimes.

Modern slavery and human trafficking are an issue that concerns police, Border Force and the Immigration Service on a regular basis. Those gathering today are thinking about the practical roles they have, as well as the humanitarian response to incidents involving very vulnerable people.

Detective Chief Inspector Anthony Evans, Dyfed-Powys Police’s lead on tackling modern slavery said: “Where agencies come into contact with those who have become victims of modern slavery and human trafficking, they are faced with often very desperate people, who have nothing but the clothes they are standing in.

“Some will have lost their lives in pursuit of a promise of what they thought would be a better life.

“We aren’t mandated to work through our practical response together, but if we can, it’s only right that we should.”

Chief Constable Mark Collins QPM, will welcome experts from across the UK tasked with different element of the prevention of and response to the crimes discussed, including the National Police Chief’s Council lead on Modern Slavery, Human Trafficking and Organised Immigration Crime, Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer QPM (Devon & Cornwall Police); Stephen Chapman, Welsh Government Anti-Slavery Co-ordinator; and Patrick Rees, Wales Joint Emergency Services Co-ordinator.

They will explore the multi-agency impacts and consequences of a modern slavery incident, and to identify any possible gaps or best practice to enhance a response to a large scale modern slavery tragedy here in Wales.

Detective Chief Inspector Anthony Evans, added: “None of us want to see an incident on the scale we will be discussing today, but we should always plan for what we hope would be the unthinkable, so that we are able to provide the best response should the worst happen.

“While we work hard to identify and tackle modern slavery when we become aware of it, it is often a long hidden crime and sadly not identified until people have suffered significantly at the hands of criminals. To help us tackle it, there are things members of our communities can look out for and report to us.”

If you suspect slavery is happening near you please report it to police on 101, in an emergency always dial 999 or call the Modern Slavery Helpline on 0800 012 1700.