The Association of Police and Crime Commissioners and the National Police Chiefs’ Council have submitted a joint response to a Government consultation on unauthorised encampments calling for the shortage of transit sites and lack of accommodation provision to be addressed.
APCC Equalities, Diversity and Human Rights lead, David Munro PCC, said:
“We welcome the Government’s decision to consult on unauthorised encampments, as it gave us an opportunity to give views on the important issues of police powers, community relations and how we work with local authorities.
“It is clear to us that there is an urgent need to significantly increase the number of permanent and transit Gypsy, Roma, Traveller sites. Unfortunately, existing planning legislation has proved inadequate to implement this and needs therefore to be strengthened in order to direct local planning authorities to make greater provision.”
NPCC lead for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller issues, Acting Chief Constable Janette McCormick, said
“Police forces deal with any criminality arising from unauthorised encampments in an impartial and even-handed way, acting proportionately as they do for any other issue.
“It is the widespread view of forces and PCCs that, in general, police and local authorities have sufficient powers under existing legislation to deal with the issue and no major changes in the criminal law are required.
“However, we believe there is merit in the government and local authorities further examining solutions such as negotiated stopping and similar good practices, as well as ensuring the Environment Agency is sufficiently equipped to administer the recovery of costs in clearing up unauthorised encampments where appropriate.”
You can read the joint APCC/NPCC response here.