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Operation B

In Spring 2023, police were called to an incident where a number of people had been found in the rear of a lorry that had travelled to the UK. They told officers they had suffered a terrible ordeal on their journey, and all were given medical attention.

The lorry driver, a foreign national who was suspected of involvement in the arranging or facilitating illegal entry into the UK, was arrested along with a number of the people rescued, on suspicion of entering the UK illegally.

Following the arrests, the local force began an investigation with the driver being the focus of their enquiries. 

The TOEX Response

Due to the suspicion around the involvement of the lorry driver, a telephone was seized and examined; however, the content was not in English. This provided some challenges for the force, and so TOEX were asked to assist.

The TOEX team developed a package for the force’s investigation, using the Translate app, utilising Microsoft Cognitive Services, to translate more than 550,000 characters in text messages sent to and from the lorry driver, in order to identify and link them to the victims.

As a result of interrogating the phone messages, at a cost of £4.48, the TOEX team were able to establish that the driver had nothing to do with the criminality involved in this investigation and was immediately eliminated from the inquiry.

The pace and cost-effectiveness at which the app was able to translate the messages allowed the team to focus on other important elements of the investigation and progress with their enquiries.

Now, the TOEX team continue to work closely with local, regional, national, and international organisations in order to develop robust partnerships to tackle organised exploitation.