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By Tim Clarke Tuesday 27 November 2012 Updated: 28/11 19:33
THE NEW man in charge of policing in West Mercia has pledged to support campaigners in Worcester who have joined the fight to end human trafficking.
Police and crime commissioner Bill Longmore promised to raise the issue of trafficking with Chief Constable David Shaw and work with him to increase awareness among the police and public in Worcestershire.
Mr Longmore, who was elected PCC for West Mercia earlier this month, made the pledge as he met with campaigners supporting the Hope for Justice Flag Up appeal on Worcester's High Street on Saturday (November 24).
Shoppers were asked to sign a petition urging the PCC to do everything in his power to bring to justice those responsible for the suffering of victims trapped in modern day slavery.
Among the measures anti-trafficking organisation Hope for Justice are calling for is the appointment of a police officer to be the single point of contact for trafficking cases.
Mr Longmore, 72, admitted more needed to be done to make police and residents aware of the extent of trafficking in Worcestershire and across the country.
"The more people we make aware of it the better as we need to encourage anyone with information on trafficking to come forward and report it to the police," he said.
"This is a very important issue which I will definitely raise with the Chief Constable. I am sure he will want to do something to make sure all officers are aware of it and that there is a central point of contact for trafficking cases."
Tom Collins, from All Saints Church who is helping to lead the campaign in Worcester, said he was delighted with the support shown by residents.
"People showed a genuine concern about the issue and we were surprised by how many had heard about human trafficking and wanted to sign the petition," he said.
"It was great to meet Mr Longmore at the stand and it is very encouraging to hear that he understands our concern and is prepared to actively engage with the issue of human trafficking alongside the Chief Constable. If we can free more survivors, bring more perpetrators to justice and build a preventative framework to protect vulnerable people, we are on the road to ending human trafficking."
To find out more about the campaign visit hopeforjustice.org.uk
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