The examples below illustrate the many forms that information reports can take, and how they are used by the police.
A district nurse visited the home of a ‘George’, a vulnerable adult. They found evidence that someone had recently moved into George’s home. George did not seem to know much about the person, being unsure of their name and why they were there.
The person was never present when the nurse visited, although it was clear that they were continuing to stay in the property. A neighbour told the district nurse that the person entered and left the property at unusual times, sometimes in the company of other people.
This information indicates that George may be being exploited by someone who is living or operating out of his property.
Further information about this person could be collected, and property visits could be made to identify the nature of the exploitation. Safeguarding services could then step in to protect George.
If the person at George’s property is already know to the police for involvement in exploitation and criminality, their use of the property may provide new evidence about the scale of their criminal network.
An environmental health officer visited a food processing factory as part of a routine health and safety inspection. They noticed that some equipment was unsafe and that workers were not wearing safety equipment. The factory did not have adequate bathroom and hygiene facilities. Workers were reluctant to speak with the officer, and the owner answered questions on their behalf.
On the basis of this information the police might conduct a raid of the factory. This could include a request to see workers’ identity documents and an assessment of their working conditions and welfare.
Any evidence indicating that the workers were being exploited would lead to them being removed from the factory and placed in safe accommodation whilst awaiting further support. This evidence could also be used to file a prosecution against the factory owner.
A housing association officer received reports from other residents that a number of teenagers had been seen regularly entering and leaving a property over the last month. The residents said that the teenagers were always transported to and from the property in the same private-hire car.
This information suggests that these teenagers may be the victims or organised exploitation. The police could use this information to monitor the property for evidence that it is being used for exploitation.
If the police can identify the teenagers they may be able to introduce safeguarding procedures to protect them.
A practitioner was told by a child that their friend (also a child) was receiving drugs from an adult and was dealing them to other children.
This seemingly small piece of information might provide a missing part of the picture of county lines activity in a neighbourhood.
It suggests that the second child needs to be monitored for safeguarding purposes and that the adult needs to be monitored for suspected criminal activity.
If the second child is found in possession of drugs, knowledge that they are being supplied by an adult and may be a victim of exploitation would influence the actions taken by police officers. These would include efforts to protect the child.
A headteacher becomes aware that a proportion of their student body is making their own drugs.
Whilst this information does not disclose the names of students involved, it provides valuable indication of the widespread nature of this activity. This may prompt the police to work with the school to uncover a new link in local drug trafficking networks.