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Modern Slavery Act: One Year On

Modern Slavery Act

MODERN SLAVERY ACT: ONE YEAR ON

 

A Gov.UK report examines the effectiveness of the Modern Slavery Act one year after it’s creation.

 

 

 

The report aims to answer four main questions:

 

  1. Is there sufficient awareness of the criminal justice measures contained within the Act?
  2. How well are the measures in the Act being implemented?
  3. Are there gaps in the provisions of the Act?
  4. What recommendations are there to fill any gaps found?

 

As practitioners, it is clear that while the number of prosecutions have increased in the last year (most still under the old offences) the Modern Slavery Act continues to present challenges to the police and Crown Prosecution Service.  There remains a lack of consistency in how these cases are dealt with, and we are pleased to see this reflected in the report.

 

Indeed, the report recognises that this particularly challenging area of the law requires frontline staff to be equipped with tools, training and processes that are currently lacking.

 

The report makes several specific recommendations, including:

 

  • Each police force should appoint or identify single points of contact on modern slavery and exploitation – one at strategic command level and one at tactical investigative level
  • Training for police officers, to include basic training for every police officer on modern slavery and trafficking to be incorporated into the national policing curriculum
  • Training for prosecutors, lawyers and the judiciary.  The Crown Prosecution Service website in particular was found to be out of date.
  • Modern Slavery Act cases to be referred to a Complex Case Unit within the CPS, with each CPS region’s Complex Case Unit comprising a senior charging lawyer trained to deal with exploitation and slavery cases
  • Consideration to be given to creating a Visa order preventing an offender from applying and/or sponsoring another person’s entry into the UK
  • Consideration to be given to enhancing police powers of detainment for own protection

 

It is clear that the Modern Slavery Act is being implemented in its current, imperfect form, and has resulted in 884 modern slavery crimes being recorded across England and Wales between April 2015 and March 2016. 

 

As well as the Modern Slavery Act, convictions have been secured for:

 

  • Slavery, servitude and forced labour
  • Human trafficking for sexual exploitation
  • Human trafficking for non-sexual exploitation

 

Nine Slavery and Trafficking Risk Orders (STROs) have been applied for, and sixteen Slavery and Trafficking Prevention Orders (STPOs) have been made under s14 Modern Slavery Act.

 

These numbers are significantly lower than the Government’s estimates of the number of slavery victims in the UK, and defence firms should see this as a signal that the Modern Slavery Act will be used as a continued focus on these offences and securing an increased number of prosecutions. 

 

If you, or someone you know, is being investigated or prosecuted for a Modern Slavery Act related offence, our expert team can help. Call us now on 0800 1933 999.

 

Psychoactive Substances Act 2016

Psychoactive Substances Act 2016

 

Psychoactive Substances Act 2016

 

If you are being investigated for, or charged with, an offence under the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016, our expert team are on hand 24/7 to advise you on all aspects of the legal process, your rights, and the best defences.  Call us now on 0800 1933 999.

 

Q: What is the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 and when did it come into effect?

 

A: The Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 came into force on 26 May 2016 and introduces a variety of measures relating to so called ‘legal highs’.

 

Q: What activities are now defined as offences?

 

A: The Act introduces a number of offences relating to these substances including:

 

  • producing a psychoactive substance (section 4)
  • supplying, or offering to supply, a psychoactive substance (section 5)
  • possession of psychoactive substance with intent to supply (section 7)
  • importing or exporting a psychoactive substance (section 8)
  • possession of a psychoactive substance in a custodial institution (section 9).

 

Q: What sentencing powers relate to this Act?

 

A: Those convicted of an offence under sections 4-8 of the Act face a sentence of up to 7 years, with those convicted under section 9 facing a sentence of up to 2 years.

 

Q: Are there any civil sanctions under the new Act?

 

A: Yes. The Act also introduces new civil sanctions including prohibition and premises notices to allow police to shut down ‘headshops’ and UK-based online dealers.

 

Q: What if a person fails to comply with the civil sanctions?

 

A: Those who do not comply with these sanctions face up to 2 years imprisonment.

 

Q: How can I find out more about the new Act?

 

A: The Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 can be accessed in full here.

 

Are you worried about a drugs-related charge? If so, call our office on 01623 600645 for free initial advice.

 

Policing and Crime Bill 2015-16 and 2016-17

 

POLICING AND CRIME BILL 2015-16 AND 2016-17

What is the Policing and Crime Bill?

The Policing and Crime Bill is a public bill presented to Parliament by the Government.

MPs considered the Bill at Report Stage on Tuesday 26 April.  This was the first of two days of debate in the House of Commons.

What are the next steps?

MPs will debate the second day of the Report Stage followed by the Legislative Grand Committee and Third Reading on a date to be announced.

The House of Commons agreed a carry-over motion for this Bill on 7 March 2016.  This means that consideration of the Bill will be resumed in the 2016-17 session.

The Bill was given a formal First and Second Reading (no debate) on Thursday 19 May to reintroduce it in the 2016-17 session of Parliament. The Bill will be restarted at the point it reached in the last session

Summary of the Policing and Crime Bill 2015-16 and 2016-17:

The Policing and Crime Bill is intended:-

–      to make provision for collaboration between the emergency services;

–      to make provision about the handling of police complaints and other matters relating to police conduct and to make further provision about the Independent Police Complaints Commission;

–      to make provision for super-complaints about policing;

–      to make provision for the investigation of concerns about policing raised by whistle-blowers;

–      to make provision about police discipline;

–      to make provision about police inspection;

–      to make provision about the powers of police civilian staff and police volunteers;

–      to remove the powers of the police to appoint traffic wardens;

–      to enable provision to be made to alter police ranks;

–      to make provision about the Police Federation; to make provision in connection with the replacement of the Association of Chief Police Officers with the National Police Chiefs’ Council;

–      to make provision about the system for bail after arrest but before charge;

–      to make provision to enable greater use of modern technology at police stations;

–      to make other amendments to the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984;

–      to amend the powers of the police under the Mental Health Act 1983;

–      to extend the powers of the police in relation to maritime enforcement;

–      to make provision about deputy police and crime commissioners;

–      to make provision to enable changes to the names of police areas; to make provision about the regulation of firearms;

–      to make provision about the licensing of alcohol;

–      to make provision about the implementation and enforcement of financial sanctions;

–      to amend the Police Act 1996 to make further provision about police collaboration;

–      to make provision about the powers of the National Crime Agency;

–      to make provision for requiring arrested persons to provide details of nationality;

–      to make provision for requiring defendants in criminal proceedings to provide details of nationality and other information;

–      to make provision to combat the sexual exploitation of children;

and for connected purposes.

 

 

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