Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire, John Dwyer, is urging drivers to engage with a smartphone app developed by the Clewer Initiative, which supports motorists in recognising and reporting signs of Modern Slavery within the car hand wash industry.
The Safe Car Wash app enables anyone who uses hand car washes to take part in a UK wide community intelligence gathering programme. The app asks the user a series of questions related to signs of modern slavery which scores the business, if it reaches a certain limit this suggests that workers are not being treated appropriately and invites the user to send a report through to the Modern Slavery Helpline for further investigation.
Early usage of the app suggests that exploitation may be occurring at a third of the hand car washes that are reported.
Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire, John Dwyer said:
"The Safe Car Wash app is an excellent tool for both educating the public and supporting the police with their investigations into this type of crime.
"My Police and Crime Plan prioritises protecting vulnerable and at-risk people, especially victims of modern slavery and human trafficking, so it is great to see technology dedicated to assisting those who most need it."
The exploitation of workers can be present in any business, but the hand car wash sector has been highlighted as an industry where workers are particularly at risk. The app focuses on five common indicators to a potential harmful working environment, these are:
* Workers living on site. Keep an eye out for mattresses, sleeping bags or other camping equipment.
* Intimidating management. Take note of how the workers are spoken to.
* No PPE. Are the workers dressed appropriately for the job?
* Young workers. How old do they look?
* Too cheap. If the prices are much lower than other local business. This could be an indicator to exploitative employment.
John Dwyer added:
"I would encourage all motorists with access to a smartphone to download the app to assist the police to investigating areas of concern.
"The National Crime Agency and the Modern Slavery Helpline are both supporting the programme, so along with the information from the public we are in a strong position to pinpoint and tackle this criminal activity."
Ed: Click on the images to enlarge them.