Jennifer Baines CMgr MCMI relishes a challenge. And having spent over 20 years tackling serious and organised crime, she has certainly faced her fair share. Having started out in benefit fraud, she has worked as a customs officer and for the National Crime Agency. She now heads a team of 13 senior investigating officers focusing on modern slavery across South East England.
“Raising awareness of exploitation and slavery makes a real difference and saves lives,” she says. “There’s nothing better than knowing you’ve saved someone from years of forced labour.”
I’ve learnt a lot about how to be a manager who inspires, motivates and creates a team culture of support, value and achievement
While the work may be invigorating, it can be difficult to make charges stick. As team leader, she has overall responsibility for ensuring that investigations are carried out correctly, and that cases are watertight when they come to court. But while the legislation around modern slavery is new and evolving, that only increases the impact when she gets the work right.
“It’s extremely rewarding when we get a good sentence, as it’s establishing the law for the future,” she says.
Jennifer’s management secrets
When it comes to managing her team, Jennifer’s approach hinges on care and empathy. Having had good and bad experiences with her own managers over the years, her modus operandi is to treat people the way she’d want to be treated herself.
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