Modern slavery policies are unlikely to be adopted by Weymouth and Portland borough council – because the authority will no longer exist by the time they come into effect.

The move to adopt the policies came about after Portland councillor Paul Kimber played a part in the return home of a young eastern European woman who was brought to the area against her will.

Cllr Paul Kimber said he became involved in the later stages of the case after the woman was noticed in his Underhill ward.

He said that she had not come to Dorset of her free will and had been falsely promised work and housing.

Mr Kimber asked the borough council to back the Charter against Modern Slavery which 24 other councils already have.

But at Monday’s council policy development committee the majority of councillors decided not to back the plea because it was felt that it was unlikely to be implemented in the remaining six months before local government reorganisation.

Instead, the new Dorset Council will be asked to take on the Charter and develop its own anti slavery policies when it comes into being in April 2019, taking over most of the borough’s duties.

Senior lawyer Roger Greene said if the borough council were to adopt the Charter it would have implications for the council’s dealing with contractors and and other bodies, and how tender documents were framed.

“The question is whether the council has sufficient time to implement this by April when the council ceases to exist,” he said, adding that in the past three years neither he, nor colleagues he consulted had come across a single case of modern-day slavery in the area.

Cllr Kimber said that just because people may not have heard of local cases it did not mean the problem was not present. He said the police now had an officer to deal with cases and were beginning to use anti-slavery legislation to prosecute drug dealers who forced others into dealing for them.

But he accepted that checking on contractors pay rates, the legal right to work, and whether staff employed by local firms were working under duress would take more time to implement than the council had left.

Cllr Ryan Hope who moved the motion not to adopt Cllr Kimber’s resolution said he had every sympathy with the thoughts behind the move, but said: “We are on a short bridge as a council. It’s not long before we walk the plank…to make changes now means it almost certainly won’t be implemented in time.”

Cllr Ian Bruce, who had earlier questioned the cost of bringing the report, which he was told was only about 15 hours of officer time, said that the additional publicity the move had brought should be welcomed in highlighting the problem.

“We should be proud of having a former MP (Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton, MP for Weymouth in the 1800s) who was at the forefront of abolish slavery…As individual councillors we should highlight anything like this we come across.”