Bernie Gravett is the co-director of Specialist Policing Consultancy and Counter Trafficking Network alongside Colin Carswell. These organisations seek to spread awareness and share their knowledge of the existence of human trafficking. Bernie came to Copperdollar Studios with a small team to film a series of informative videos for online training.
Hello, please could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your organisations?
My name is Bernie Gravett I am a former senior police officer where I served in London for 31 years. In that ‘life’ I covered many aspects of policing from public order senior command, responding to terrorist attacks and tackling drugs and organised crime. In 2005 I recognised a significant level of child trafficking impacting on London. I set up some large investigations into this that were ground-breaking at the time. This included what was the largest human trafficking investigation in Europe, the first use of EU laws that allowed UK police officers to fully operate in different countries and also using EC money to fund police operations. I am now considered an expert in human trafficking, child sexual exploitation, child criminal exploitation and countering international organised crime.
I retired in 2011 and started Specialist Policing Consultancy. I use a range of former colleagues as consultants to deliver training to police officers, lawyers, prosecutors and Judges around the world. We have delivered training in over 40 countries. In addition, we also act as ‘expert witnesses’ to support victims of human trafficking against prosecution and deportation.
In April I was joined by a former colleague, a friend and expert Colin Carswell who I appointed as a co-director of both the Specialist Policing Consultancy and the Counter Trafficking Network.
What project were you recently working on at Copperdollar Studios?
I have always had the intention to share our expertise through online training. I have a personal frustration that I can only really physically train about 200 people a year when I want to train thousands. Human trafficking affects all countries and communities. It is a huge worldwide problem that while public awareness is improving a few organisations and officials know how to investigate it and combat it. In April 2020 a former colleague and friend Colin Carswell retired from the police and we have set up the Counter Trafficking Network to being together professionals around the world to improve the response to countering human trafficking. This includes police officers, solicitors and lawyers, prosecutors, social workers and businesses through a secure online platform. In addition, we are putting all of our experience into online training courses.
We felt we needed to promote ourselves and expertise by the use of video introductions to our courses and the network. We needed a suitable local studio to allow us to professionally deliver these videos.
Why was Copperdollar Studios a suitable space for your shoot?
I have always preferred to support local businesses, so the location was important. I also prefer to deal with SME’s rather than larger businesses. Copperdollar Studios fitted those requirements together with the right environment. The rustic look of the walls and surroundings attracted us. Human trafficking often takes place away from the glitz and glimmer, we wanted a look that did not sensationalise.
How did Specialist Policing Consultancy first form — what are the aims of the organisation?
We formed in April 2011 and are born out of a desire to share our expertise, passion and skills within UK and international law enforcement, government and legal practitioners; also with partners from the 3rd sector and business.
Our staff are experts in a wide range of areas from human trafficking, anti-money laundering, capacity building, leadership, victim support, counter-terrorism to crime in the retail environment. They consist of retired and serving officers who are all experts in their fields.
We specialise in countering organised crime at an international level, especially in the field of human trafficking.
Where can we watch the counter-trafficking network videos?
On the day we recorded 13 short videos. 6 course introductions, 6 course closing summaries and a 7 minute ‘Welcome to the Counter Trafficking Network’ video. All are on Vimeo and have been inserted in our online courses.
Introduction to Counter Trafficking Network (The network) – https://vimeo.com/432838828
Introduction to the course “What is Human Trafficking” – https://vimeo.com/432842117
What does the future hold for Specialist Policing Consultancy and Counter Trafficking Network?
Our international face to face training programme has been seriously impacted by the Covid pandemic. We are planning for the future with this in mind. Our expert witness service is flourishing as more victims need our help and support. Many people are prosecuted by crimes they were made to commit on behalf of human traffickers. We also act as experts for various media outlets such as the BBC when trafficking incidents such as the sad death of 39 Vietnamese nationals occurred in Essex last year.
However, Covid has spurred us on to create the Counter Trafficking Network. All of our energies are being focussed there for now.