Wiltshire's Airfields are the target of Wiltshire Police's latest Modern Slavery campaign. Operation Aidant, which will run from Thursday 23 November to Sunday 3 December, is a nationwide operation that will involve information gathering, public education, and enforcement activities. Police are aiming to tackle Organised Criminal Gangs (OCGs) which use entry points like airfields and ports to facilitate their crimes.
Detective Inspector Mark Kent had this to say:
“As a landlocked county Wiltshire has no ports which would enable criminals to exploit and smuggle modern slavery victims but we have many small airfields. Facilities used regularly by people for legitimate reasons and travel. Our intelligence shows that there is little criminal activity at these airfields in our county – I can assure you it doesn’t appear to be a major issue here in Wiltshire.
However, we mustn’t be complacent and so are asking the public who use these airfields to keep a look out for anything out of the ordinary or unusual.
This could be anything like a pilot acting suspiciously, an aircraft which has been modified or a concealed cargo being carried. We would like members of the aviation community to be vigilant and report to us anything that doesn’t seem right.”
Wiltshire has 61 small airfields which fall under the Common Travel Area (CTA). Whilst there is currently no intelligence to suggest there may be organised trafficking taking place at scale, Police have stressed the need for vigilance from the Aviation Community and locals.
Wiltshire Police is working with the Border Force and its Project Pegasus operation to combat smuggling, immigration crime and terrorism. To report anything suspicious, please call 0300 123 7000 quoting Pegasus or report online via Wiltshire Police's website: wiltshire.police.co.uk - search for Pegasus. In an emergency always call 999.