On the 16 and 17 July, as part of the on-going work within the Multi Agency Targeted Enforcement Strategy (MATES) in Hereford, eight takeaway restaurants were visited in two days of targeted multi-agency activity.

The MATES visits on Tuesday 16 July and Wednesday 17 July in Hereford comprised of officers from West Mercia Police (WMP), Hereford and Worcester Fire & Rescue Service (HWFRS), Home Office Immigration (HOI),) and Herefordshire Council Environmental Health and Housing Enforcement.

The co-ordinated visits were used to tackle a range of issues with the aim of protecting people from harm.

The operation sought to identify issues of modern slavery, exploitation of vulnerable people, human trafficking, which includes illegal working and the condition of the accommodation above the businesses where employees resided as well as fire regulations, licensing and business regulations.

HWFRS issued advice and notifications for improvement in fire safety with partner agencies also identified issues with:

  • ¬∑ Illegal workers and workers operating outside of their immigration status or visa’s
  • ¬∑ Environmental health sub-standard food hygiene standards
  • ¬∑ Sub-standard housing conditions and unlicensed HMOs
  • ¬∑ Unsafe Gas installation identified, isolated, and handed over to Transco

Group Commander Mick Cadman, Head of Community Risk said: “Hereford Fire and Safety are always proud to support West Mercia Police, Herefordshire County Council and all our partners in improving the safety in our communities.”

Sergeant Duncan Reynolds said of the operation: “When we receive information from the community and combine it with our own gathered intelligence about establishments where there is concern over health, fire and welfare of people and staff, we act. Working closely with partners we are able to be decisive in our intentions to protect people from harm as well as identify several criminalities. (Opens in a new window)

“In all, we were able to remove 28 people from dangerous premises which included the successful safeguarding of children and share an improved picture on known organised crime activities with our partners.

“This operation demonstrates the effectiveness of our partnership working in Hereford and the successful interventions which ultimately protect members of our community. 

“It is important that people running businesses in Herefordshire comply with the law, fire safety and council regulations for operating businesses.” 

To find out more about how to spot the signs of modern slavery visit  https://www.unseenuk.org

If you suspect modern slavery is taking place, ring the UK Modern Slavery Helpline run by @UnseenOrg on 08000 121 700 or download The STOP APP to report human trafficking.