WEST Mercia's police and crime commissioner has set out his commitment to help tackle modern slavery.

In the last year 49 modern slavery and human trafficking offences were reported in the region, with this number expected to increase by around 20 per cent in the coming year.

Commissioner John Campion and West Mercia Police have reaffirmed their commitment to victims and are bringing together key professionals to take action.

Alongside the National Anti-Trafficking and Modern Slavery Network, they have invested in a conference which brings together community safety partnerships, health, education, social services, youth offending services, housing, voluntary sector and more.

Mr Campion said “I have shown my commitment to victims of modern slavery and human trafficking by bringing professionals together, ensuring police have the resources to tackle emerging crime types like this and through my investment in specialist victim services.

"We must all work together, to stop this from being a hidden crime. The more eyes and ears we can have in our communities, the more victims we can help.”

Before the conference in Worcester today (Wednesday, February 13), an event will also be held for frontline police officers and staff ensuring they are also equipped with the knowledge and confidence to identify and support victims.

West Mercia Police, Assistant Chief Constable Martin Evans said “Modern slavery is a serious and brutal crime in which people are treated as commodities and exploited for criminal gain.

"Although the true extent of modern slavery in the UK is unknown it is encouraging that the number of modern slavery and human trafficking policing operations is increasing locally and nationally.

By improving the identification of and response to modern slavery and human trafficking by frontline officers, staff and partner agencies, through specialist training, we hope to protect more people from harm – often the most vulnerable in our society. “

Follow the conference on Twitter and Facebook: @WestMerciaPCC #ModernSlavery