76 modern slavery cases in Cardiff were reported to South Wales Police in 2019, up from 29 in 2016, and just three in 2015.
By Amie, Cardiff · April 28, 2020
Reports of modern slavery and human trafficking received in Cardiff by South Wales Police have risen from 1 to 76 in just five years.
The city saw just one reported offence in 2014, rising to 3 the following year. However, in 2016 this increased to 29 offences, including nine in one postcode alone. The number increased again to 71 offences in 2017. While the number of offences fell to 45 in 2018, it then increased to its highest point in 2019, with 76, despite only having data for 11 months of the year.
The data was sourced by media literacy The Student View following a Freedom of Information request to South Wales Police.
The findings also revealed that Cardiff street Stuart Close received nine reports of modern slavery in 2016.
South Wales Police said: “County lines drug dealing and associated criminality is a significant national problem and one which is treated as a force priority by South Wales Police.
“Under Operation Guardian – our response to organised criminal gangs who target the most vulnerable in our society – we are committed to protecting those at risk in our communities, bringing gangs to justice and making South Wales a hostile environment for those seeking to do harm. Drugs gangs from London, Liverpool and Birmingham are known to be operating in the south Wales area, alongside local drug dealers. Intelligence suggests the number of individuals linked to county lines in south Wales is in the hundreds; however that figure relates to both criminals and victims.
“Quantifying county lines arrests is complex as county lines is a term used to describe the method used by criminals and is not an offence in itself. During a 12-month period (August 18 – July 19) South Wales Police reported 90 county lines-related disruptions as part of the National Serious Organised Crime Performance Framework. These disruptions included 108 arrests, 46 convictions for a total of 210 years and seizures of approximately 1.5Kg of Class A drugs.
“While this figure captures a notable proportion of the effort being undertaken across the force area to target this threat, it does not capture all enforcement activity and the great deal of work being undertaken daily in conjunction with a wide range of partner agencies.
“As well as tackling lucrative and large-scale drug supply, Operation Guardian seeks to identify and safeguard vulnerable individuals exploited by organised criminals. A number of cuckooing victims have been safeguarded as a result of ongoing work with local communities and partner organisations and South Wales Police has also been successful in securing county lines-related convictions under the Modern Slavery Act. A number of investigations relating to both exploitation and drug supply are also currently ongoing.
“Anyone with concerns, suspicions or information about county lines criminality is urged to report it via 101 or 999 in an emergency. Alternatively, Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111.”