GREATER Manchester Police has been hailed for its response to modern slavery and human trafficking.

The force was listed as one of the top police bodies after an investigation of all 43 police units by Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS).

GMP, which is one of the only UK forces to have a dedicated unit tackling modern-day slavery, was praised for its work with partners as well as its communications strategy.

GMP Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said: "Modern slavery and human trafficking are just two of the complex and challenging crimes that we at Greater Manchester Police regularly deal with.

"It is therefore very pleasing to receive a good review from HMICFRS on the work we do to tackle these issues.

"It is often difficult to reach and engage with the victims of these crimes as the very nature of them means victims don’t believe they are being abused or taken advantage of.

"I am therefore very proud of my officers and staff whose tireless work has contributed to this positive review."

GMP has helped train 50 tactical advisers, providing 24-hour support during investigations to ensure that all lines of inquiry are followed up.

The HMICFRS report praised GMP's focus on 'analysing and identifying opportunities to disrupt criminality'.

In 2016, a total of 137 crimes relating to modern slavery were recorded, compared with 87 in 2015, and 22 in 2014.

Chief Constable Hopkins said: "The criminals behind these abhorrent crimes are part of serious and organised criminal gangs. They trade in fellow humans as they do in drugs, weapons and other criminal commodities.

"The victims of these crimes are some of the most vulnerable in our society and we are doing all we can to protect them and bring the offenders to justice to stop them spreading misery through their criminal behaviour in our communities."

Hannah Flint of GMP's partner organisation STOP THE TRAFFIK said: "Recognising the vital role that community groups, faith networks, businesses and charities have to play in tackling Modern Slavery is key to reducing the impact of this crime. "Without strong partnerships across all sectors of society, traffickers will continue to exploit vulnerable people, but together we can make it much harder for them to operate freely."

Anyone with concerns about themselves or others are urged to call GMP on 101 or report crime, anonymously, via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.