Minutes PDF 161 KB
To approve as a correct record the minutes of
the Hidden and Extreme Harms Prevention Committee held on 23 June
The minutes of the Hidden and Extreme Harms
Prevention Committee meeting held on 23 June 2022 were approved as
a true and correct record.
Items of Urgent Business
receive additional items that the Chair is of the opinion should
considered as a matter of urgency, in accordance with Section
(4) (b) of the Local Government
There were no items of urgent business.
Declarations of Interest
There were no declarations of interest.
Essex Police: Operation Bluebird Verbal Update PDF 832 KB
Detective Inspector (DI) Chris Rose introduced
himself and gave a presentation regarding the work of Essex Police
on Operation Bluebird.
The Chair thanked DI Rose for attending the meeting and giving a
presentation. He also thanked Essex Police for their hard work on
Operation Melrose, when 39 people were sadly found dead in a lorry.
He asked if the Organised Immigration Crime (OIC) team had
uncovered any firearms in Thurrock during their operations. DI Rose
replied that firearms had not been found in Thurrock by the OIC
team. He explained that organised immigration crime gangs usually
traded in commodities such as people, money, and drugs. He stated
that the team were using a holistic approach to tackle organised
immigration crime gangs who were people smuggling. The Chair asked
why people were trafficked into the UK. DI Rose explained that many
people left their home countries due to political unrest or out of
fear for their safety, for example the number of people being
trafficked from Afghanistan had increased over the past year due to
political unrest. He added that it was often a dangerous and
expensive journey for people to make, but it was hard to identify
all the push and pull factors that led to people coming to the
The Chair queried why the numbers of people being trafficked into
the UK increased during the winter months, and if the OIC team were
working to decrease these numbers. DI Rose explained that
operations were currently in place to mitigate this issue, but
there were lots of human trafficking gangs, as it could be a
lucrative business. He explained that many human traffickers
facilitated crossings by boat across the English Channel, but the
numbers of people crossing over land, for example in lorries,
increased during the winter months because of the weather
Councillor Ralph questioned how many individuals had been
prosecuted for people smuggling and human trafficking. DI Rose
stated that Essex and UK police forces worked closely with EU
forces to share intelligence, as many human trafficking gangs
operated both in the UK and EU. He explained that this intelligence
sharing led to more prosecutions. He added that the Modern-Day
Slavery (MDS) team within Essex Police had also started Joint
Investigation Teams with law enforcement agencies in other counties
and countries, which ensured that MDS investigations could take
place across counties and internationally. The Chair queried if
Essex Police had had an issue with human organs being smuggled into
the area. DI Rose commented that human organ smuggling formed part
of MDS, and although had not been seen in Essex, had been seen in
other parts of the world.
SERICC Data Comparison: Presentation PDF 1 MB
The SERICC Director introduced the
presentation and explained that following the last Hidden and
Extreme Harms Prevention Committee meeting that SERICC had
attended, they had organised a male sexual violence awareness
course with Thurrock officers to highlight the risk of sexual
violence against men and boys, as this had been a suggestion by the
Committee. She added that many people during this training had
assumed that sexual violence was linked with domestic violence, and
the training session had helped to dispel this assumption. She
added that the Home Office were also writing a Violence Against Men
and Boys Strategy, although there was some way to go before this
could be shared. She summarised and stated that violence against
women and girls was more prevalent than against men and boys, which
was why the focus of the report was on violence against women and
The SERICC Services Delivery Manager explained that the data
presented to the Committee compared figures from between March
2020-21 and March 2021-22. She explained that figures for March
2021-22 had remained relatively static compared to the previous
year, with a small increase in the number of people reporting aged
between 18-24 years old and 13-17 years old, which was partly due
to the end of lockdown restrictions. She added that SERICC had seen
587 incidents reported by 527 users, and these could be recent
incidents or from a long time ago. She added that SERICC provided
all survivors with counselling sessions, advisers, and helped
victims report to the police if they chose. The SERICC Services
Delivery Manager explained that in 2021/22 346 females had reported
incidents to the police, which meant that the number of people not
reporting had increased since 2020/21. She explained that SERICC
was the only service in the UK which provided a direct referral
pathway, which meant that incidents could be reported
The Chair thanked SERICC for their presentation and asked if they
had encountered any grooming gangs commuting from London to operate
in Essex. The SERICC Services Delivery Manager explained that their
data showed that no grooming gangs had been reported in Thurrock.
The SERICC Director added that if a perpetrator assaulted a victim
more than once, then this could be classed as grooming under the
Home Office’s Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy. The
Chair asked why data on female genital mutilation (FGM) did not
specify the ethnicity of the perpetrators. The SERICC Director
explained that this demographic information was provided by the
government rather than SERICC, but could be shared with the
The Chair highlighted the work on Operation Hydrant that was being
undertaken by the National Police Chiefs Council regarding historic
abuse. He stated that their figures showed 12,000 total victims,
8,000 of whom were boys and 4,000 of whom were girls. He stated
that the perpetrators listed in Operation Hydrant were often TV
personalities, sports stars, politicians, or music industry
professionals. He felt that the work of Operation Hydrant should be
more publicised due to ...
view the full minutes text for item 11.
Modern Day Slavery and Human Trafficking Update Report PDF 157 KB
The Strategic Lead Social Work Support
introduced the report and stated that it had last been presented to
the Committee in 2021. She explained that the Committee had
requested a standalone Modern Day Slavery statement, rather than
being included in the Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG)
Strategy, and both the Adult Social Care and Children’s
Social Care had worked together to build the strategy.
The Strategic Lead Social Work explained that since the last
meeting, the team had worked to develop the Modern-Day Slavery
statement, and had completed the following achievements:
1. Information on how to spot the signs of MDS had been shared on
Thurrock’s social media pages.
2. A training session on the MDS Pathway for Thurrock’s first
responders had been arranged for the end of October.
3. A list of resources on MDS and human trafficking had been
uploaded to the Council’s website.
4. A pop-up event would be held in Grays High Street to publicise
the anti-slavery campaign.
5. A partnership event on MDS was being arranged for early 2023 to
discuss how to tackle MDS, increase awareness, and how to
successfully share information with colleagues and frontline
6. A regular training programme had been developed in partnership
with Justice and Care, and Essex Police, and had been delivered to
64 people including staff members in Adult Social Care, Community
Safety and Children’s Social Care.
7. A guide on MDS had been developed with Southend City Council and
Essex County Council.
8. The team were working with small businesses to tackle MDS and
highlight the signs.
The Strategic Lead Social Work asked if Members had any suggestions
on how to promote MDS and human trafficking. The Chair highlighted
point 2.10 of the report and asked how this scheme would be
delivered to businesses. The Thurrock Community Safety Partnership
Manager explained that the charity Stop the Traffic had designed a
toolkit and guide on how to spot MDS and human trafficking, and
this had been delivered to businesses through the Business Buzz.
She explained that some businesses had already signed up to the MDS
Statement, but this was not currently a statutory duty. She added
that the team were working with the communications team to
encourage businesses to write their own MDS pledge, or sign-up to
the Council’s MDS pledge, which they could put in their
window. She felt that this could encourage consumers to choose
businesses who were committed to stopping MDS and human
trafficking. The Chair sought clarification on training outlined in
3.1.1 of the report, and asked if this was targeted specifically at
council officers. The Strategic Lead Social Work explained that the
training was offered to council officers, the voluntary sector, and
Councillor Ralph felt it was good to see the MDS Strategy was now
standalone and not included in the VAWG Strategy. He asked how
residents and members of the public could get involved. He also
felt concerned that the ‘It Could be Your Daughter’
picture, only focussed ...
view the full minutes text for item 12.
Work Programme PDF 55 KB
The Committee asked if an update on
anti-terrorism could be added to the agenda.