BAMS was established in 2012 to raise awareness of modern day slavery and human trafficking in the county. The key members are former councillor Kristy Adams and David Cestaro a DCI with Bedfordshire Police, who work alongside Pauline Panter and Rita Beaumont of Soroptimist International.
Activities undertaken by BAMS include an information gathering session for a variety of health and social care providers, voluntary organisations, the prison service, police and charities to establish the depth of knowledge these "professionals" had regarding Human Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery. It quickly became apparent there was a lack of knowledge and more training was required. As a result we organised a comprehensive study day attended by over 200 people and established BAMS. All local police officers have now comprehensive training regarding recognition of human trafficking and slavery, this includes new recruits, airport police and very senior investigating officers. Bedfordshire police has seen a substantial increase in the recognition and reported number of cases of Human Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery since the introduction of BAMS.
Ongoing work includes building upon the impressive awareness and training event held on national Anti-Slavery day last October. This conference, held at Moggerhanger Park, with its historical links to William Wilberforce and the Clapham Sect, brought together managers from key statutory and voluntary partners in our campaign to reveal and counter slavery in Bedfordshire. In particular, the group has designed an information booklet, to be distributed in print and electronic formats, to help fill the gaps in awareness and intelligence submission which delegates had identified as inhibitors for their organisation in addressing the issue. This is a key part of Bedfordshire Police’s Communications Strategy which is designed to ensure its officers, partners and the public have their eyes open to victims and know how to assist them. Monthly meetings include the key members as well senior health and social care workers, representatives from local charities, Yarlswood wood detention centre and various other organisations. >
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