21 Jul 2017 13:00 PM[View Full Size]
14 people have now been arrested in connection with an investigation into modern day slavery that saw the launch of Operation Kestrel earlier this week.
Operation Kestrel was launched on Monday and sees the regions three police forces work together with Immigration Enforcement and other law enforcement agencies, voluntarily organisations and local authorities to target foreign criminals and immigration offenders as well as safeguarding those at risk of being targeted by human traffickers and modern day slavery.
On Monday warrants were carried out at addresses in the West End of Newcastle and now 14 people have been arrested for slavery offences as part of the investigation. They have been released under investigation.
Northumbria Police's Detective Inspector Sally MacDonald led on the arrests on Monday.
She said: "Our absolute priority is making sure those who are at risk of being targeted by modern day slavery and human trafficking are safeguarded and not at risk of any further exploitation and I would like to thank Newcastle City Council and the voluntary organisations involved, such as British Red Cross and Hope For Justice, for supporting us in this activity and enabling us to ensure those at risk receive the best possible support."
Operation Kestrel is the first operation of its kind and sees a range of organisations working together in collaboration to target foreign national offenders and also UK criminals who target and take advantage of vulnerable people coming to the UK.
Immigration Enforcement director Eddy Montgomery said:
“My officers have worked alongside the police during the first week of Op Kestrel, supporting visits to car washes and nail bars to check that staff have the right to work in the UK. Where illegal working is uncovered, businesses are liable for fines of up to £20,000 per illegal worker and those with no right to remain in the UK will be subject to removal action.
“Officers have also been on hand to support police-led traffic stops, conducting immigration checks and, where appropriate, detaining individuals for removal from the UK. All officers are also trained to identify any potential trafficking victims and ensure they get the right support.”