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VICTIMS of slavery are "well-hidden" - and police need the public's help to save them, says a top officer.
Detective Chief Inspector Gavin Dudfield, of Dorset Police's Public Protection Unit, spoke out after two people were acquitted of slavery charges at Bournemouth Crown Court on Monday.
“While our officers investigate these offences and support victims, these crimes are known to be very well hidden, so we really need the general public of Dorset to be vigilant to any signs of exploitation."Detectives carried out a lengthy and complex investigation which centered on allegations that four people were being held at a location in squalid conditions and forced to carry out work for little or no payment," he said.Hundreds of police officers have been accused of abusing their power to sexually exploit people, including vulnerable victims of crime, a damning report has revealed.Arrested suspects and people with drug or alcohol problems were also thought to be among those allegedly exploited.While forces acknowledge the seriousness of the problem, some are still failing to recognise it as a serious form of corruption, the report warned.
Mr Cunningham said: “Forces need to become far more proactive in rooting out this most serious form of corruption, rather than only dealing with it once it has been reported.” He said the majority of officers and staff carried out their work with integrity and honesty – and are “appalled” at the corruption of their colleagues.