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A new national programme has been rolled out across the country to further protect the vulnerable and help act against those exploiting others.
The North East Regional Organised Crime Unit (NEROCU) is an organisation that is dedicated to delivering an increased regional response to tackling all types of serious and organised crime – and it takes a number of specialist dedicated teams to achieve this.
One of which is the recent addition of the Tackling Organised Exploitation Programme (TOEX), who create a whole-systems approach to improving the response to the exploitation of the vulnerable as well as providing UK law enforcement and partners with an enhanced intelligence picture of organised exploitation.
Organised exploitation can include drug supply, modern day slavery, human trafficking and child sexual exploitation.
The TOEX teams have been funded nationally by the Home Office as part of a significant investment to tackle exploitation and was first piloted in 2021 in three Regional Organised Crime Units (ROCU) – East Midlands, Eastern Region and West Midlands before being rolled out across all ROCUs.
The contribution from the TOEX team helps inform activity, tasking, investigations and prosecutions, resulting in a stronger, united approach across the country.
Their work helps prepare for and mitigate the impact of organised exploitation, protects vulnerable people and the wider community from harm.
They also help prevent individuals from offending and support activity that pursues and disrupts those doing the exploiting.
TOEX transcends borders and crime types and creates an enriched and holistic approach to tackling exploitation- an issue that weaves itself through all forms of serious and organised crime.
TOEX lead for NEROCU, Detective Inspector Alfie Keane, said: “The introduction of the TOEX programme across the country is a huge win for law enforcement.
“The intelligence we can now easily share and receive from partners enables stronger evidential files for court, opens up investigation leads and contributes to the permanent shut down of organised criminal organisations.
“It also helps further strengthen Operation Sentinel, which is our regional approach to tackling serious and organised crime on a whole- something which is already producing fantastic results here in the North East.
“With TOEX now fully operational across the country the message is clear – we are growing in strength; we are committed to protecting the vulnerable and we are coming for anyone looking to exploit others for their own criminal means.”
For more information you can visit the TOEX website by searching ‘TOEX’ online.