The Secretary of State for the Home Department (‘SSHD’), James Cleverly, has revised the Public Order Disqualification policy (“the policy”) which was first announced in January 2023.
The government introduced the policy through amendments made to the Modern Slavery Statutory Guidance. The policy instructed decision makers to withhold support and protection from individuals identified as being potential victims of trafficking where they were deemed to be a threat to the public order due to involvement in criminal offences; a route highlighted in the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking Human Beings (“ECAT”). Critics of the policy raised concerns it did not include adequate safeguards to protect potential victims who were forced to commit the criminal offence by their trafficker. Such individuals would be denied support and protection from re-trafficking.
Following a successful judicial review on several grounds – including breaches to Article 4 ECHR protection duty – the SSHD amended the policy. It now includes a specific requirement for a separate assessment regarding the risk of re-trafficking to be completed where a decision maker assesses an individual should be disqualified. The amendment offers to potential victims a safeguard against wrongful detention and deportation.