Police in Milton Keynes hold workshops to raise awareness of signs of hidden harm in car washes

One of the recent workshops
One of the recent workshops

Following on from warrants carried out earlier this year tackling Modern Slavery in hand car washes, police have conducted two workshops in Milton Keynes to educate and inform car wash managers and partner agencies.

The workshops were run in partnership with Waves, a company who operate over 270 car wash franchises in the UK and are currently working with the national Modern Slavery Police Transformation Programme in developing guidance for identifying exploitation in hand car washes.

The first workshop, run for local car wash managers, raised awareness of the steps that need to be taken in order to run a compliant car wash business including obtaining planning permission from the local authority and the requirement to adhere to employment law and related policies.

The second workshop focused on training frontline professionals including the police and Milton Keynes council representatives on how to spot the signs of exploitation and poor compliance in these types of businesses.

By developing the relationships between the police, partner agencies and hand car washes, we can work together to expose and eliminate Hidden Harm such as modern slavery. The message around Hidden Harm is clear, it is happening in the heart of our communities and we all have a role to play in keeping people safe from harm. Open your eyes to abuse, if you suspect it, report it.

Indicators of poor business practices and labour exploitation within the hand car wash industry can include:

Workers not having the right equipment for the job, for example, goggles, protective gloves, high visibility clothing and waterproof boots

Excessively low costs for a car wash

Signs of workers living on site

No staff welfare facilities, such as.. toilets, rest areas, smoking areas

Groups of workers seen being dropped off or picked up at the start or end of their shift

Workers working excessively long hours, without sufficient breaks

The car wash only accepting cash

Workers appearing fearful, withdrawn and intimidated

If you have concerns about a hand car wash, you can report this to the Police via 101 or 999 in an emergency, to the Modern Slavery Helpline 08000 121 700 or to the Safe Car Wash App.