Police raided a property in Watford as part of an operation to tackle labour exploitation.

Hertfordshire Constabulary says it carried out a multi-agency warrant at a retail premises in Watford High Street on September 14, supported by officers from Modern Slavery Unit (Tropic), local Scorpion team, the National Crime Agency and Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority.

Police carried out welfare checks on the owner and staff and the premises was also inspected.

No offences were identified by police. One man was arrested for immigration matters.

The warrant went ahead during Operation AIDANT, a Europe-wide project carried out between September 14 and September 18 to combat labour exploitation. 

On September 17, police also visited a property unannounced in Hertford as concerns were identified after a previous visit. No modern slavery offences were found but an unlicensed home with multi occupancy was discovered.

The following day enforcement visits were carried out to check that former offenders, currently under Slavery and Trafficking Risk Orders (STRO), were complying with the orders.

Detective Sergeant Jill Green, from Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery (HTMS) unit, said: “During this week of action we carried out some great partnership working to help protect the community by ensuring that employees are aware of their rights and entitlements in the UK and not subjected to any exploitation.

“These weeks of action are a good opportunity for all of the agencies to work together to identify and help trafficked and exploited individuals. It can be difficult to obtain evidence as victims are reluctant to cooperate with police and may not even realise they are being exploited and controlled. These operations enable us to speak to the individuals and get them help.

“Victims can be anyone, from people living on the streets, vulnerable children and adults, to people trafficked into the country who speak little English. As part of the drive to combat modern slavery, trafficking and exploitation we are keen to raise awareness of this little understood issue and urge people to be vigilant and report anything they consider suspicious.”