Sara Thornton has officially been appointed as the new anti-slavery commissioner, eight months after the resignation of Kevin Hyland.
After speculation was sparked earlier this month, it was announced that Thornton, the current chair of the National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC), will be taking up the role of anti-slavery tsar from May.
The former chief constable for Thames Valley Police will be responsible for driving effective prevention of slavery and human trafficking offences, as well as engaging with the private sector to promote policies to ensure that supply chains are free of slavery.
Appointed by home secretary Sajid Javid, Thornton will be stepping into the role a year after the resignation of previous commissioner, Kevin Hyland. In his resignation letter, Hyland claimed that he had been frustrated by Home Office interference.
Javid said: “The fact that modern slavery still exists in the shadows of our communities is totally unacceptable. We are doing all we can to banish it from society and give victims our full support.
“Sara has dedicated her career to protecting people in need and I look forward to the valuable insight and advice she will provide as the new commissioner.”
Thornton said: “I am looking forward to bringing my long experience as a chief constable and in national policing to bear in this important role. Good progress has been made in recent years and I am committed to build on that and do what I can to consign this crime to history.”
In an interim review into the effectiveness of the Modern Slavery Act, politicians expressed concerns about the role as it was felt that Hyland had not been free to criticise the government’s role in tackling modern slavery.
Frank Field (Independent), who is leading an Independent Review of the Modern Slavery Act with Maria Miller (Conservative) and Baroness Butler-Sloss, said that he has met with Thornton to discuss the review’s findings.
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