Operation Fort

The largest modern slavery investigation ever conducted in the UK.

Modern slavery

Operation Fort


Operation Fort brought a Polish organised crime gang to justice after they were exposed as running a human trafficking ring in the West Midlands. It was the largest modern slavery investigation ever conducted in the UK. West Midlands Police and Chorus brought down 13 offenders and helped protect 400 vulnerable people from further exploitation.


West Midlands Police


Law Enforcement

Products Utilised

Chorus was invaluable for processing and analysing all the data. Manual processing would have taken several weeks and the additional functionality and speed gave us many options for identifying important details that would have been otherwise impossible to uncover.

UK Police Inspector

Case Timeline

The crime

In 2015, West Midlands Police identified the first victims of human trafficking, sparking an investigation into a Polish organised crime gang. The victims were lured to the UK and  found living in appalling conditions and forced to work. Their identity cards were seized and bank accounts, unknowingly, opened in their names for receiving benefits, all of which were claimed and retained by their masters.

Modern slavery

The data challenge

In total, the investigation included over 4,000 exhibits. 650,000 lines of communications data, 80 downloaded handsets, 1,500 statements and 40 pieces of ‘live’ evidence presented a huge challenge to the investigation team.

With only 4 Detective Constables allocated to the case, they needed to ensure that they processed it all  and met with the strict disclosure rules. Chorus provided a single platform to manage it all and was chosen to quickly and effectively analyse, cleanse and connect the data to answer key investigation questions. 

Chorus turns data into meaningful information

West Midlands Police uploaded all data and cross referenced it to identify links. 584 files and close to 700,000 records later, and they had colour coded each defendant in Chorus and given each victim a unique number. From then on, every entity imported was linked to the relevant person.

Chorus and WMP worked together to create templates that allowed bespoke data to be uploaded, including some financial data formats. Investigators were able to show wages going into a victims account, the offenders phone taking the journey to the bank location, and CCTV images of them entering the bank and using the machine to withdraw money.  This information was placed into one easy to understand chart the jury could take away with them to deliberate. 


The pre-defined evidential reports in Chorus were used to build a ‘chapter’ in the submission to the CPS on each defendant. Entity connectivity and interaction, directories, and message logs were all produced for each person and filtered according to the date, people, and events of interest. These gave a clear indication of the degree of involvement of each defendant.

WM gang

The Results

The use of Chorus was crucial for West Midlands Police in being able to analytically corroborate all evidence, including the victims accounts, and provide the jury with a complete and true picture of events. The investigation resulted in

  • 13 defendants charged with 8 standing trial in 2019
  • All receive more than 55 years in jail combined
  • In the first 19-week trial and the second 10-week trial not one disclosure issue was put before the Court
  • The use of Chorus also assisted with last minute live enquiries during the court
  • The case was of such magnitude that it was subject to its own BBC Panorama documentary.