CLEVELAND Fire Brigade bosses have reinforced their commitment to tackling modern slavery and human trafficking.

Modern slavery is a term used to encapsulate offences in the Modern Slavery Act (2015) which result in the deprivation of a person’s liberty by another, in order to exploit them for personal or commercial gain.

This can include debt bondage, human trafficking, forced labour and people being traded as a property or commodity, as well as employers controlling or ‘owning’ employees with actual or threatened abuse.

A modern slavery statement sets out the steps organisations are taking to prevent modern slavery and is required by certain commercial organisations under the Modern Slavery Act.

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In line with its safeguarding arrangements, Cleveland Fire Brigade recently signed-off its 2021/22 anti-slavery and human trafficking statement, setting out steps being taken to prevent the practice within its business and supply chains.

Ian Hayton, Cleveland Fire Brigade’s Chief Fire Officer, presented the document to the Fire Authority at its most recent meeting on Friday, October 15.

He told the meeting: “We have a well embedded and wide ranging safeguarding arrangement across our service delivery, our recruitment selection and our procurement.

“Previously the authority made voluntary statements relating to our stance on modern slavery.

“The authority’s [2021/22] statement covers six reporting areas as recommended by the Home Office.

“They deal with the organisational structure and supply chains, the policies held in relation to slavery and human trafficking, the due diligence processes that we go through, our risk assessment and management, our key performance indicators and the training that we do for staff.”

The anti-slavery and human trafficking statement, which was approved by the Fire Authority, also encourages staff, partners and suppliers to report any malpractice or wrongdoing in line with the Fire Authority’s anti-fraud and anti-corruption strategy.

It goes on to say: “As part of its safeguarding approach, Cleveland Fire Authority has a zero-tolerance to slavery and human trafficking and all forms of corruption and bribery and will not deal with any business knowingly involved in modern slavery practices in any part of its operations.

“The authority is committed to the highest level of ethical standards and governance.

“It will act with integrity in all its business relationships and take all reasonable and practical steps to ensure compliance with Section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 in ensuring that there is no modern slavery or human trafficking in its supply chains or in any part of its business.”

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