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How asylum seekers and local cops scored big against exploitation

A football match, held on Wednesday 5 July, brought together officers from Greater Manchester Police’s Operation Vulcan and a group of young people seeking asylum, to help prevent them from falling victim to criminal exploitation.

In a great show of community outreach, Manchester’s cops set up an event at Goals football pitches vs asylum seekers in the area.

The event was organised by Believe and Achieve Support Limited, a privately supported accommodation service that help vulnerable people find a home in the city.

The event aimed not only to showcase football skills but also to break down barriers and foster trust between the police and the local community through the power of sports.

Although the officers’ prowess on the pitch may not have rivalled their crime-fighting abilities, they triumphed in two games and secured a draw in two others.

Operation Vulcan in the community

This event marks the beginning of what organisers hope will become a regular fixture, reinforcing the bond between Operation Vulcan and the community it serves.

Operation Vulcan represents Greater Manchester Police’s resolute response to combat the grave criminality associated with the counterfeit trade in the Cheetham Hill and Strangeways areas.

While the relentless efforts of Operation Vulcan have effectively eradicated the illicit shops peddling counterfeit goods, the fight against other forms of crime in the region persists.

Sergeant Matthew Donnelly

Sergeant Matthew Donnelly, a member of Operation Vulcan, emphasised that the operation’s scope extends far beyond shutting down illicit businesses.

“We want to work with communities to tackle serious crime and turn this into an area that is safe for people to live and work,” he explained passionately.

Criminal exploitation of the vulnerable

During the process of closing down counterfeit shops, Operation Vulcan uncovered distressing evidence of criminal exploitation targeting vulnerable individuals, particularly asylum seekers.

These individuals were coerced into acting as “spotters,” tasked with monitoring police activities from street corners.

Their dire living conditions were equally concerning, with many forced to sleep on soiled mattresses within dilapidated buildings.

This appalling human exploitation struck a chord within the police force, compelling them to protect vulnerable individuals and prevent others from falling victim to criminal syndicates.

To combat these issues, Operation Vulcan initiated drop-in sessions, offering information and support to those affected and various charitable organisations.

Believe and Achieve Support Limited

One such session caught the attention of Believe and Achieve Support Limited, who extended an invitation to the officers to speak with the asylum seekers they were assisting.

It was during these conversations that the idea of organising a football tournament emerged, and Operation Vulcan eagerly accepted the invitation.

Sergeant Donnelly highlighted the significance of the match, stating, “The purpose of the match was to rebuild trust in the police and try to get these young people to see us as human beings who are here to protect them – not just people in a uniform, as we know that can often be a barrier to conversations.”

By fostering trust and positive interaction, the police hoped to empower these young individuals to envision brighter futures, free from the clutches of exploitation.

The football match not only showcased the unity between Operation Vulcan and the asylum seekers but also set an example for future endeavours focused on community-building.

By bridging the gap between law enforcement and marginalised groups, this event demonstrated the transformative power of teamwork, compassion, and shared goals.

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