Insight and action Date published: 27th October 2016 12am

Simon Byrne | Chief Constable

I am the Chief Constable of Cheshire Constabulary. I want to use this blog to provide information on the latest goings-on and provide updates on the future direction of policing in the county

Earlier in the week I accompanied officers, Police Staff and Immigration Officials on a series of visits to shops in Cheshire West, looking for signs of Modern Day Slavery.  This was hot on the heels of representing the Force at an evening service at Westminster Abbey recognising the work of William Wilberforce.  In the splendour of its surroundings I heard the Prime Minister talk about the danger of turning a blind eye or being ignorant of tell-tale signs of slavery in our communities.  She led a rally cry for ‘insight and action’. 

Then a few days later I got an opportunity to join a planned series of visits to nail bars, where we were looking for signs of labour exploitation or sexual exploitation.  Following a great briefing from DI Claire Ellis who was running the operation from Blacon Police Station, we set off to Ellesmere Port.  We found a range of issues that will be followed up with other agencies  and was a strong reminder that if we  ‘turn a blind eye we create deeper mess’. 

The overall message was if you think this is just an issue for the bigger conurbations, think again.  The first visit unearthed a failed asylum seeker who was working for nothing.  The frustration given the limits of our processes & safeguarding protocols is often ‘victims’ or more bluntly ‘slaves’ who originate from abroad, can’t see they are being exploited.   So, if you think you recognise the signs yourself, please dial 101 or use the Crime Stoppers Helpline 0800 555 111.

A first for the Force recently was our ‘Tech Expo’ Day.  We were showcasing a range of new ideas, innovations and systems to bring  busy officers and staff from the Force, as well as surrounding areas up to date with our ideas in pursuit of our aim to be an innovative and progressive Force, constantly on the lookout for ways to improve our service to you.  Items on show ranged from hi-tech gadgets to our new Command and Control System - the computer we use to record incidents telephoned in and then despatched to officers promptly.  

The day was both fun and informative and left me full of optimism about how what we do will become more efficient and effective for you.

Turning an eye to the horizon,  shorter days which mean darker nights and a crime prevention plea to keep your homes lit when you are out to reduce the risk of falling prey to passing burglars.  We do a lot to keep on top of criminal networks like the raids involving over 300 officers in Warrington recently.  But we will never eradicate crime to zero and simple steps like this will make life harder for opportunistic burglars.  So stay safe this Autumn!